1981 CART Rookie of the Year Bob Lazier died of COVID-19

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Bob Lazier, the 1981 CART Rookie of the Year who competed in the Indianapolis 500, died following a battle with COVID-19. Diane Lazier, Bob’s wife of 58 years, told The Vail Daily that her late husband spent 22 days at St. Anthony Hospital in Lakewood, Colorado. He passed away from the virus at 1 p.m. this past Saturday.

“He fought a very, very valiant fight. It’s so like him,” Diane Lazier told The Vail Daily. “He’s the toughest 81-year-old you’ve ever seen.

“He had a big personality and an incredible amount of energy, full of life.”

According to the report, a county official confirmed Lazier was the seventh Eagle County, Colorado resident to die from the COVID-19 virus.

“One of the saddest parts is that the coronavirus cheats people of being with their loved ones,” Mrs. Lazier said.

His wife said one of Lazier’s nurses cried when the family was called at 1 p.m. That nurse held his hand and had moved his bed, so the sun was on his face at the time of his passing, according to the report.

The community of Vail, Colorado opened on December 15, 1962 and the Lazier’s came to the community two weeks later.

Lazier became one of Vail’s first major contractors, building 16 commercial properties in 17 years.

His real passion was auto racing. The 81-year-old Lazier competed in just one Indianapolis 500. His son, Buddy, drove to victory in the first Indianapolis 500 as part of the Indy Racing League in 1996. Another son, Jaques, also competed in CART and the IRL.

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The Minneapolis native started 13th and was credited with 19th place in the No. 35 Montgomery Ward Auto Club Penske/Cosworth, owned by Bob Fletcher, in his only Indy 500 start, in 1981. He dropped out of the race with engine failure after completing 154 laps.

That same season, Lazier was ninth in the CART standings in 1981, with best finishes of 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.

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

Bob Lazier also was a frequent and enthusiastic competitor this decade in the SVRA Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500 

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