March 19 in Motorsports History: Buddy Lazier goes last to first at Phoenix

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Twenty years ago today, an impressive IndyCar comeback took place at Phoenix Raceway.

Starting from the 26th and final starting position, Buddy Lazier did not appear to be a major contender in the 2000 race at the Arizona oval.

But over the course of the 200-lap event, the 1996 Indianapolis 500 champion climbed his way through the field and took the lead for the first time on Lap 151.

Lazier then made his final pit stop on Lap 155 and surrendered the lead to Robbie Buhl, however, he regained the lead when Buhl had to pit on Lap 161.

The caution flag would wave one lap later because of debris on the track. On the ensuing restart on Lap 167, Lazier held off Scott Goodyear and went on to win by a margin of 4.191 seconds. The victory was Lazier’s first since Charlotte in July of 1997.

At the time, Lazier’s victory was the farthest back a winning driver had started in an IndyCar race.

Lazier was forced to start from the rear of the field after his Hemelgarn Racing team made the decision to switch to their backup car after a poor qualifying result of 24th.

“My guys did an awesome job. We (had) never driven this car before today,” Lazier told ABC Sports’ Jack Arute following his victory. “We rolled it out of the truck, and the guys put it together. Just an awesome performance by my team.”

Lazier’s victory was also the sole victory for a Riley & Scott in IndyCar. The Hemelgarn team switched to a Dallara chassis at Indy, and the company withdrew from IndyCar competition following the conclusion of the season.

Lazier went on to win one more race in the 2000 IRL season, coming in August at Kentucky. He won the 2000 championship by 12 points over Goodyear.

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IndyCar releases schedule for 2023 season

IndyCar schedule 2023
Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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The NTT IndyCar Series’ 2023 schedule will feature the same number of races and tracks as this season with some minor reshuffling of dates.

IndyCar will open the 2023 season March 5 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, and will conclude Sept. 10 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. The 107th Indy 500 will take place May 28 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 17-race schedule will conclude with a stretch of eight races in the final nine weeks.

“The NTT IndyCar Series is on an impactful upward trajectory, making progress at a pace that befits our thrilling style of competition,” Penske Entertainment Corp. president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “The 2023 season provides an opportunity to further build on this trend, bringing our sport and its stars to more markets and households and reaching new consumers across the globe.”

There will be 15 events on NBC: 13 races (including six of the final seven) plus Indy 500 qualifying May 20-21. There also are three races on USA Network and the Toronto race exclusively on Peacock. All races on NBC and USA also will have live simulstreams on Peacock.

In partnership with NBC Sports, the 2022 IndyCar season was the most-watched in six years and the most-watched across NBC Sports on record. The 2022 season also was the most streamed season on record.

“We’re very excited for our 2023 NTT IndyCar Series schedule and to build on this past season’s viewership milestones,” NBC Sports vice president of programming Mike Perman said in a release. “In providing comprehensive coverage across NBC, Peacock and USA Network, NBC Sports is once again looking forward to telling the stories of these world-class drivers and this compelling series.”

Notable elements on the 2023 schedule:

–There will be the same balance of seven road course races, five street courses and five ovals.

–St. Pete will be the season opener for the 13th time.

–The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix will move from Belle Isle to the streets of downtown.

–The NASCAR doubleheader weekend at the IMS road course will shift to mid-August.

–The World Wide Technology Raceway event will move from Saturday to Sunday.

Start times for the 2023 events will be announced at a later date.

Here’s the 2023 IndyCar schedule:


Date Race/Track Network/Platform
Sun., March 5 Streets of St. Petersburg NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 2 Texas Motor Speedway NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 16 Streets of Long Beach NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 30 Barber Motorsports Park NBC, Peacock
Sat., May 13 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) NBC, Peacock
Sun., May 28 The 107th Indianapolis 500 NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 4 Streets of Detroit NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 18 Road America USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 2 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 16 Streets of Toronto Peacock
Sat., July 22 Iowa Speedway – Race 1 NBC, Peacock
Sun., July 23 Iowa Speedway – Race 2 NBC, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 6 Streets of Nashville NBC, Peacock
Sat., Aug. 12 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) USA Network, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 27 World Wide Technology Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 3 Portland International Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 10 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca NBC, Peacock

*dates and networks/platforms are subject to change