Lazier struggles at Gateway Indy 250, finishes 15th. Madison, Ill. - A podium finish for Buddy Lazier was not meant to be this weekend at the Gateway Indy 250 at Gateway International Raceway as the 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner struggled to find...
Lazier struggles at Gateway Indy 250, finishes 15th.
Madison, Ill. - A podium finish for Buddy Lazier was not meant to be this weekend at the Gateway Indy 250 at Gateway International Raceway as the 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner struggled to find speed and grip throughout much of the weekend.
Things started looking up after Sunday morning's final practice when Lazier turned the seventh fastest lap of the session. Feeling comfortable in the car, it appeared Lazier would move up quickly from his 19th starting position and earn a strong finish for the second consecutive race.
But his fate would soon change when the green flag dropped. Immediately, the No. 91 Coors Light/TaeBo/Life Fitness/Delta Faucet/Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone entry driven by Lazier was down on power. His Hemelgarn crew took advantage of the first caution flag, bringing Lazier onto pit road twice for a splash of fuel and to evaluate the problem.
The 2000 Indy Racing League champion would eventually return to the pits after the team pinpointed a faulty electronic control unit, the equipment responsible for firing all the juice to the engine. His Indianapolis-based team sprang into action, quickly removing the left side pod and replacing the malfunctioning electronics box. However the rather lengthy stop under green flag conditions would cause Lazier to fall several back several laps.
"We had some electrical problems early, and we lost eight laps right at the start," said a disappointed Lazier. "The rest of the day we were real loose and just kind of hanging on. When we got the electronic thing worked out, it ran better."
At the end of the day, the Vail, Colo. resident finished 15th in the 200-lap Gateway Indy 250, nine laps off the leaders pace. Despite the team's earlier dilemma, team owner Ron Hemelgarn was pleased with Lazier's performance.
"When we got back on the track, we ran the same times as the leaders," Hemelgarn said. "Had we not had electronics failure at the beginning, we would have been on the lead lap."
Lazier held his 10th spot in the series point standings with two races remaining on the 15-race schedule.
The next Indy Racing League event is the Delphi Indy 300 on September 8 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.