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 

Final 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona results, points

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona overall results were all streaks: two consecutive victories in the endurance classic for Meyer Shank Racing and three in a row for Acura.

And Helio Castroneves became the second driver to win three consecutive Rolex 24s and the first to win in three straight years (Peter Gregg won in 1973, ’75 and ’76; the race wasn’t held in ’74 because of a global oil crisis).

Starting from the pole position, Tom Blomqvist took the checkered flag in the No. 60 ARX-06 that led a race-high 365 of 783 laps with co-drivers Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Colin Braun.

RESULTS: Click here for the finishing order in the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona l By class

POINTS: Standings after Rolex 24 at Daytona l Michelin Endurance Cup standings l Daytona endurance points

Meyer Shank Racing now has two Rolex 24 victories and the 2022 championship since entering the premier prototype category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2021.

“I think what’s so special about this team is we are a small team compared to some of our opponents, but the atmosphere, the way we work, enables people to get the best out of themselves, and I think that’s why we’re such high achievers,” Blomqvist said. “I think there’s no egos. It’s a very open book, and that just enables each and every one of us to reach our potential. I think that’s why we’ve achieved so much success in really a short time at this level of competition.”

It’s the 16th IMSA victory for MSR.

The 61st running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona marked the debut of the Grand Touring Prototype category that brought hybrid engine technology to IMSA’s top level.

In other categories:

LMP2: James Allen passed Ben Hanley on the final lap and delivered a victory in the No. 55 ORECA by 0.016 seconds. It’s the second IMSA victory for Proton Competition, which last won at Sebring in 2012. It was the first Rolex 24 victory for Allen and co-drivers Gianmaria Bruni, Fred Poordad and Francesco Pizzi.

GTD Pro: Cooper MacNeil won in the last start of his IMSA career as the No. 79 Mercedes-AMG GT3 scored the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for WeatherTech Racing and the team’s fourth career victory.

MacNeil, who co-drove with Maro Engel, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella, earned his 12th career victory and first at the Rolex 24.

“Winning by last IMSA race is tremendous,” MacNeil said.

GTD: The No. 27 Heart of Racing Team delivered the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for Aston Martin, which has been competing in endurance races at Daytona International Speedway since 1964. Drivers Marco Sorensen, Roman De Angelis, Darren Turner and Ian James (also the team principal) earned the victory in the English brand’s 13th attempt.

It’s also the first Rolex 24 at Daytona win for Heart of Racing, which has seven IMSA wins.

LMP3: Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill drove the No. 17 AWA Duqueine D08 to victory by 12 laps for the team’s first class win in IMSA.


STATS PACKAGE FOR ROLEX 24 HOURS OF DAYTONA:

Fastest laps by driver

Fastest laps by driver after race (over the weekend)

Fastest laps by driver and class after race

Fastest lap sequence

Lap chart

Leader sequence

Race analysis by lap

Stint analysis

Time cards

Pit stop time cards

Best sector times

Race distance and speed average

Flag analysis

Weather report

NEXT: The 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will resume with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 18 with coverage across NBC, USA and Peacock.