One Playa Del Racing driver in the Indy 500, Phil Giebler, won the Indianapolis 500 Chase Rookie of the Year award and its $25,000 bonus, and veteran Jacques Lazier, driving for the team for his third year, led the Indy 500 for two laps Sunday, May 27th.

Playa Del Racing was founded in 2001 in Playa del Rey by Gary Sallee, who lived in Playa del Rey, and co-owner Susan Schafer, who had attended Santa Monica College.

This year’s Indy 500 was delayed for three hours by heavy rain, and ended 34 laps short of the usual 200 laps because of a second downpour.

The winner of this year’s race was Dario Franchitti, the average speed for the race was 151.774 miles per hour, and the time of the race was 2:44:03.5608, according to Indy500.com/.

Giebler, driving the Number 31 Ethos Fuel Reformulator, a Panoz chassis/Honda engine/ Firestone tires open-wheel car, was forced to retire after completing 106 laps following an accident and finishing the Indy 500 race in 29th place on Sunday, May 27th.

Lazier, driving the Number 21 Indiana Ice/Venture Logic, Panoz/Honda/Firestone, finished the race in 27th place, when, after the rain, he scraped the wall coming out of turn four, as drivers Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves went past him, dashing his hopes for another run at leading the race.

Lazier was the team’s only driver in 2005, and was the first driver on the track for opening day at this 91st Indy 500, an honor that is traditionally hard-fought, according to Playa Del Racing.

Clark Drake, the chief mechanic, returned to the team again, as did Panoz specialist Mike Colliver as team engineer, both of whom had worked with Lazier.

Earlier in May, Giebler had taken his car out for a qualifying run, “when three laps into a 220-plus mile per hour attempt, Phil and the car found the outside safety barrier, and our dream, Phil’s dream and the dreams of the entire crew of competing in the 91st running of the Indy 500 was in serious jeopardy,” said Schafer.

She added that during the next 24 hours, the car had to be disassembled piece by piece and examined, and a list of needed parts was put together to get the car ready and qualified for the next day.

“As if by divine intervention,” the parts they needed started coming to them from competitors, well-wishers and friends, Schafer said. “Sam Schmidt saw our rear wing was destroyed and he and his team appeared with one; Ganassi racing, the owner of more Panoz parts than any other source, assured us their ‘store’ would be open all night; Andretti-Green, Rahal Letterman and Chastain Motorsports all offered their help; and first on the scene was the Indy Racing League, offering to do all that could be done to give us an opportunity to get the parts we needed.”

Shafer said that 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol, which is biodegradable, renewable and ecologically-friendly, was utilized at the Indy 500.

Information, Playadelracing .com or Indy500.com/.

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