Guest Blog (Neely): New School Lazier

In a new era at Indy, the Lazier family keeps it old school. Gone are the days of last minute deals and rides put together on bump day. Paul Diatlovich is no longer mortgaging his house to get Jimmy Kite a qualifying effort. The new era of Indy as gotten rid of what used to be buzz and excitement up until the gun went off. Indy now requires more time and money than ever before, making last minute deals obsolete unless you are Buddy Lazier.

For the past few years, we have seen Lazier Partners Racing show up underfunded and short on time. It seems every year is a question mark until they get on track. While the effort takes months to build up, it all comes together at the last minute. Year after year, I sit and wait and watch the Lazier garage waiting for activity to build and some life be shown; the crew members love racing and are friends of the family. Only a few of the crew are paid, and the rest volunteer their time to try and give Buddy the best car they can in a short amount of time. Never before has the team went out before Thursday and that is for a shakedown of the car at best. They are the only team who has to run the same engine in practice and qualifying as they do during the race. They also purchase fewer tires than any team meaning fewer laps can be run.

When Indy was the whole month, there would often be programs who would wait until the second week of practice to run the car, but that is no longer the case with the shortened month. This has made it even harder on the teams to put together a short program. This year there was an added wrinkle for the team. Over the offseason, parts of the car came up missing along with the steering wheel. This meant the team had to muster up the funds to purchase new aero kit pieces and build a new steering wheel that is customized for a drivers liking. This is not an easy task for a team that puts the car together during the week of practice. Nevertheless, Lazier Partners Racing is here and will do everything they can to be good on race day.

Buddy Lazier 2017 (Photo: IndyCar Media)

Buddy was asked if this will just be a start and park to get 33 cars for the start of the race. His response was &quote, "I don't come to Indy to do that." The Lazier family exemplifies what the 500 is all about. The love for the speedway runs deep in the family with Bob Lazier (father) and Buddy owning the team and brother Jaques Lazier usually hanging around. They have all run the 500 before and know what it means to make the field. It means you have a chance no matter how small to win the biggest race in the world and become part of history.

For Buddy, if he won again it would be his second, putting him on a short list of drivers who have done the same. An outside shot, yes, but nevertheless a shot and that is all any driver can ask. He may not have the same chance to win as others, but I thank Buddy and everyone involved with this team for their effort because this is what Indy is about, the love of the speedway.

-Jake Neely