Buddy Lazier close to Indy 500 comeback?

3 Comments

We mentioned last week that Jaques Lazier could be making a comeback in this year’s Indianapolis 500. It looks like his brother Buddy, 45, is in the running to, too.

Indianapolis radio station 93.1 WIBC FM posted a report that they had seen Buddy Lazier’s name on the DW12-Lotus chassis driven by Jean Alesi, and fielded by Fan Force United, in last year’s Indianapolis 500 (pictured).

The one-off entry for Alesi was brokered as he was a Lotus ambassador, with FFU running what had been the Lotus test car driven in the preseason. Lotus’ return to Indianapolis was nothing short of diabolical with both the Formula 1 veteran and HVM’s Simona de Silvestro woefully off the pace, and parked 10 laps into the 500-mile race.

Buddy Lazier, 1996 Indianapolis 500 champion, last made the 500 field in a last-ditch, small-budget Hemelgarn Racing Bump Day effort in 2008, and last attempted to qualify in 2009.

Neither Lazier has yet driven the new Dallara DW12 chassis that was introduced ahead of last year’s season. They last competed together in the 2007 Indianapolis 500.

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

2 Comments

Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.