1981 CART Rookie of the Year and Indy 500 starter Bob Lazier dies

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Photo

Bob Lazier, a man who competed in the Indianapolis 500 and was the father to 1996 Indy 500 winner Buddy Lazier, has died.

The 81-year-old Lazier competed in just one Indianapolis 500 in 1981. Fellow first-time starter Josele Garza of Mexico City was the Indy 500 Rookie of the Year in 1981. Lazier started 13th and finished 19th in the No. 25 Montgomery Ward Auto Club Penske/Cosworth. Bob Fletcher was the car owner. Lazier dropped out of the race with engine failure after completing 154 laps.

Lazier’s eldest son, Buddy, drove to victory in the 1996 Indianapolis 500. That was the first year the Indy 500 was part of the Indy Racing League. Another son, Jacque, also competed in CART and the IRL.

Bobby Unser won the 1981 Indy 500 winner in his final start at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. That race was controversial because of a United States Auto Club (USAC) ruling. Race officials ruled Unser had passed nine cars under yellow when he left the pit lane to return to the race course. The following morning, Mario Andretti was awarded what would have been his second Indy 500 win.

Unser and team owner Roger Penske appealed, and Unser was later reinstated as the winner that October.

That same season, Lazier was ninth in the CART standings in 1981. His best finishes were fourth on the road courses at Watkins Glen and Mexico City. That strong performance earned him CART Rookie of the Year honors.

He returned to Indianapolis in 1982 but did not attempt to qualify, as he agreed with his family’s concern after Gordon Smiley’s fatal crash during the opening day of qualifying.

Lazier then focused on his work as a successful building contractor in Vail, Colorado. He started to focus on his sons’ racing careers. Buddy climbed through the SCCA ranks and raced in IMSA sports cars before competing in CART and IndyCar, with his win in 1996 at Indianapolis for Hemelgarn Racing the most noteworthy of his eight career victories.

Jaques Lazier drove to an IndyCar win in 2001 at Chicagoland Speedway while driving for Team Menard.

Bob Lazier moved from Minnesota to Vail after he and his wife, Diane, spent their honeymoon there in 1963. According to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, he saw a brochure about the mountain ski resort town at a Minneapolis ski shop where Bob worked.

Lazier’s company built numerous properties in Vail, with Tivoli Lodge as his crown jewel.

Lazier started racing in the early 1970s, and he won a class title in the 1972 SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road Atlanta in a Formula Vee. He also raced in Formula 5000 and the USAC Mini-Indy Series in the 1970s before climbing to Indy cars in 1981.

In recent years, Lazier stayed involved in racing as a team owner and by driving vintage race cars. He and son Buddy formed Lazier Partners Racing in 2013, with Buddy making four Indianapolis 500 starts between 2013-17 under that banner and the Lazier/Burns Racing name, both small, low-budget, one-car teams.

Bob Lazier also was a frequent and enthusiastic competitor in the SVRA Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational at IMS.

Lazier’s cause of death was not released.

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500 

Seattle Supercross by the numbers: Three riders separated by 17 points


Three riders remain locked in a tight battle with 17 points separating the leader Cooper Webb from third-place Chase Sexton and these are only a few Supercross numbers to consider entering Seattle.

Seattle Supercross numbers
Chase Sexton made a statement in Detroit with his second win of 2023. – Feld Motor Sports

For the fifth time in 10 rounds. Sexton, Webb, and Eli Tomac shared the podium in Detroit. Between them, the trio has taken 23 podiums, leaving only seven for the remainder of the field. Jason Anderson, Ken Roczen and Justin Barcia have two each with Aaron Plessinger scoring the other.

Webb and Tomac won the last four championships with two apiece in alternating years, but they were not one another’s primary rival for most of those seasons. On the average, however, the past four years show an incredible similarity with average points earned of 21.0 for Webb and 21.3 for Tomac. With five wins so far this season, Tomac (23 wins) leads Webb (19) in victories but Webb (43) edges Tomac (41) in podium finishes during this span.

Tomac has won two of the last three Seattle races and those two wins in this stadium are topped only by James Stewart. Fittingly, if Tomac gets a third win this week, he will tie Stewart for second on the all-time wins’ list. Tomac tied Ricky Carmichael for third with 48 wins at Oakland and took sole possession of that spot with his Daytona win.

Sexton still has a lot to say and after winning last week in Detroit, he is speaking up. The Supercross numbers are against him entering Seattle, however, because a points’ deficit this large after Round 10 has been erased only once. In 1983 David Bailey was 47 points behind Bob Hannah, and like Sexton he was also in third place. Bailey took the points’ lead with one race remaining.

The seven points Sexton was penalized last week for jumping in a red cross flag section in Detroit could prove extremely costly.

In fact, it has been a series of mistakes that has cost Sexton the most. In the last two weeks, he lost 10 points with a 10th-place finish to go with his penalty. Erase those, and all three riders hold their fate in their hands.

Plessinger’s heartbreak in Detroit is still fresh, but the upside of his run is that was his best of the season and could turn his fortunes around. Prior to that race, he led only seven laps in three mains. He was up front for 20 laps in Detroit with five of those being the fastest on the track.

Last week’s win by Hunter Lawrence tied him with his brother Jett Lawrence for 17th on the all-time wins’ list. With the focus shifting to 250 West for the next two rounds, Jett has a great opportunity to pull back ahead. The real test will be at the first East / West Showdown in East Rutherford, New Jersey on April 22.

Last Five Seattle Winners

2022: Eli Tomac
2019: Marvin Musquin
2018: Eli Tomac
2017: Marvin Musquin
2014: Ryan Villopoto

2022: Hunter Lawrence
2019: Dylan Ferrandis
2018: Aaron Plessinger
2017: Aaron Plessinger
2014: Cole Seely

By the Numbers

Anaheim 2
San Diego

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Chase Sexton wins in Detroit, penalized seven points