Give Me A Break

Buzz Calkins will carry the Olympic Torch. Sam Hornish Jr. is going to Cancun, Mexico. Buddy Lazier plans to continue building his dream house.

After eight busy months of racing, Indy Racing Northern Light Series drivers are approaching the six-month offseason as a vacation, doing things they couldn’t during the season. No.1 on the list is reconnecting with family members.

Galles Racing rookie Didier Andre has a long way to go to see his family. Andre, who finished tied for 18th in the IRNLS points, is a native of Lyon, France.

“Living in the States all year long without my family close to me, I'm missing my family a lot,” Andre said. “For sure, I'm going back to my country and seeing my friends, my family, my nephew, who I see like twice a year. I'm really going to enjoy it.”

The Lazier brothers – Buddy and Jaques – are headed to Colorado, where they will spend quality time with their spouses and children.

“I have a lot of fun playing with my kids and skiing, and my wife and I have been hard at work over the summer building our dream house, the house we've been saving and working for for a while,” said Buddy, IRNLS runner-up this season. “We're going to continue pounding nails and building that.”

Jaques will be busy building something else – his family.

“I'm going to be 100 percent busy because I have a new little baby on the way, and hopefully little Cayden Kyler Lazier will bless Angelique and I in late November, early December,” said Jaques, who took over the No. 2 Team Menard car midseason. “I guarantee that's going to take up every spare second I have, but I'm definitely looking forward to that, seeing another one of my dreams is to be a father.

“I have a wonderful wife that is very supportive of every endeavor that I take on, and this is a new one that I am very excited about.”

Billy Boat will be spending time with his son, but they’ll still be at a race track.

“Well, it's becoming a short offseason, but when I quit racing, in Phoenix my son will be starting up racing again,” said Boat, who finished fourth in IRNLS points this season. “He's racing dirt go-karts now. We'll be doing that and just really spend some time with my family, and spend some time with my business.”

Felipe Giaffone, the IRNLS Rookie of the Year, will be at a track, too, but he’ll actually be racing in his country of Brazil.

“I have a go-kart race in Brazil,” Giaffone said. “It's 500 miles that we have pretty much every year in Brazil. It's really fun. (Rubens) Barrichello goes, Tony Kanaan, Christian Fittipaldi - it's like 12 hours of racing. It's not for relaxing because we can't really relax, but it's really fun.”

IRNLS champion Sam Hornish Jr. will celebrate his title by heading to the warmth of Mexico.

“There's not a huge amount of things that I can do in the offseason that I can't do during the season,” he said. “I'm going to Cancun at the end of December. I'll actually have some time to get some sun, and I'll just try to figure out how to win races next year.”

Buzz Calkins will be taking part in perhaps the most unusual offseason activity. He’ll carry the Olympic torch in pre-Winter Games festivities. Calkins will carry the torch on Jan. 30, Day 56 of the 65-day relay leading up to the Feb. 8 start of the games in Salt Lake City.

“I am still a little stunned by the whole thing," Calkins said. “I have been fortunate to do some great things in my life and this is definitely right at the top of the list.

“It would mean a lot if the country hadn't gone through the events of Sept. 11 but since everything that has happened over the last couple of weeks I think it will be especially meaningful. I think that the pride of being an American will be overwhelming over the next couple of months going into and through the Olympics and the Torch Relay is probably the best way to display this pride.

“This is one of the greatest honors of my life and I am looking forward to representing the United States, Colorado, my family and Indy Racing as I carry the torch.”

IRNLS drivers have until the end of February to enjoy their time off. The first race of 2002 is March 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Fla., for the 20th anniversary of the Grand Prix of Miami.

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