Coronavirus claims former Indy car Rookie of the Year Bob Lazier

Bob Lazier, 1981 CART Indycar Series Rookie of the Year, has died from complications arising from the coronavirus. He was 81.

Coronavirus claims former Indy car Rookie of the Year Bob Lazier

According to today’s Indianapolis Motor Speedway release, Minneapolis-born Lazier “moved from Minnesota to Vail after he and his wife, Diane, spent their honeymoon there in 1963, enticed by seeing a brochure about the nascent mountain ski resort town at the Minneapolis ski shop where Bob worked. Lazier's company built numerous properties in Vail, with Tivoli Lodge as his crown jewel.”

Lazier won the 1971 Formula B class at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs, competed in the USAC Mini Indy Series and in Formula 5000 before graduating to the CART Indy car Series in 1981 with Robert Fletcher’s team.

At 42 years of age, he was very old for a rookie, but his past experience in road course racing was to prove useful that season as he took on oval specialists still grappling with the art of turning right as well as left during Championship Auto Racing Teams’ early days of track diversification.

Although Lazier’s engine let go at the Indianapolis 500 – not part of the CART championship that year – Lazier impressed elsewhere. Alternating between a new March 81C and one-year-old Penske PC7, Lazier would finish ninth in the championship and earn Rookie of the Year honors.

Key to that title were three top-five finishes, all scored in the Penske and all accrued at the championship’s three road courses that season – Riverside, Watkins Glen and Mexico City.

The following year, Bob returned to the Indianapolis 500 with Wysard Racing but withdrew on the first day of qualifying and retired, following Gordon Smiley’s fatal crash.

His sons Buddy and Jaques went on to become open-wheel racers, Buddy proving particularly successful, winning the first Indy Racing League-run Indy 500 in 1996, the 2000 IRL title and then racking up a further four wins in 2001 – the same year Jaques claimed his sole win.

Bob owned and ran Lazier Racing Partners team which entered Buddy at Indy from 2013 through ’17, and he also took part in the SVRA Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

IMS President Doug Boles and two-time Indy 500 winner Arie Luyendyk were among those who hit Twitter to pay tribute:

 
 
Gordon Johncock's Patrick Racing Wildcat alongside Bob Lazier's Fletcher Racing Penske at Indy in 1981.

Gordon Johncock's Patrick Racing Wildcat alongside Bob Lazier's Fletcher Racing Penske at Indy in 1981.

Photo by: Motorsport Images

shares
comments
Pagenaud wins Motegi after teammates tripped by lapped car
Previous article

Pagenaud wins Motegi after teammates tripped by lapped car

Next article

Norris set to compete in COTA IndyCar Esports round

Norris set to compete in COTA IndyCar Esports round
Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021 Prime

Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021

In an enthralling 2021 IndyCar campaign, the series bounced back from its COVID-19 truncated year prior and series sophomore Alex Palou defeated both the established order and his fellow young guns to clinch a maiden title. It capped a remarkable season with plenty of standout performers

IndyCar
Nov 22, 2021
How Marcus Ericsson finally unlocked his potential in IndyCar Prime

How Marcus Ericsson finally unlocked his potential in IndyCar

Marcus Ericsson enjoyed a breakout year in the IndyCar Series in 2021, winning twice and finishing sixth in points with Chip Ganassi Racing. How did he finally unlock the potential that was masked by five years of toil in Formula 1 with Caterham and Sauber/Alfa Romeo?

IndyCar
Nov 16, 2021
Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win Prime

Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win

Saturday, Oct. 16th, marks the 10th anniversary Dan Wheldon’s death. David Malsher-Lopez pays tribute, then asks Wheldon’s race engineer from 2011, Todd Malloy, to recall that magical second victory at the Indianapolis 500.

IndyCar
Oct 16, 2021
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Prime

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Jack Harvey’s move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate, but their combined strength could prove golden, says David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 15, 2021
Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Prime

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong résumé and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear. By David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star Prime

2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star

Alex Palou has captured Chip Ganassi Racing's 14th IndyCar drivers' championship, and in truly stellar manner. David Malsher-Lopez explains what made the Palou-Ganassi combo so potent so soon.

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021
Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar Prime

Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar

One of motorsport’s worst-kept secrets now out in the open, and Romain Grosjean has been confirmed as an Andretti Autosport IndyCar driver in 2022. It marks a remarkable turnaround after the abrupt end to his Formula 1 career, and is a firm indication of his commitment to challenge for the IndyCar Series title  

IndyCar
Sep 24, 2021
IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch Prime

IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch

The 2021 IndyCar silly season is one of the silliest of all, but it’s satisfying to see so many talented drivers in play – including Callum Ilott. David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Sep 11, 2021