Lazier Gets Some Home Cookin
June 18, 2001 | 1:00 A.M. EST
Lazier, of Vail, Colo., returned to victory lane in his return to his home state, and his dad, Bob, was there to see it happen on Father’s Day.
"That is the way every father should spend Father's Day,” Bob Lazier said. “It was a good day for the Laziers.”
Along with his father, Lazier’s wife, Kara, and son, Flinn, were on hand.
“My 2-year-old son Flinn was up there,” Lazier said. “I was joking that he's going to college now for sure. It was a very special feeling.
“Winning at home, there's nothing like it. I get to be a hero in my house and maybe in my hometown.”
For much of Sunday’s Radisson Indy 200, it looked as if Buddy Lazier would fail to deliver in front of his friends and family. Sam Hornish Jr., winner of the first two events of the year, was on rails, leading laps five through 156, turning in the fastest leading lap of the race at 167.060 mph and nearly lapping Lazier.
It wasn’t until Hornish took on an ill-handling set of tires on Lap 118 that Lazier had a chance to catch the Pennzoil Panther Racing No. 4. Lazier stalked Hornish and eventually took the lead on Lap 157 – his first lap led this year - and led the rest of the way.
“I couldn't believe it,” Lazier said of his good fortune. “I didn't want to believe it until the end.”
Lazier moved to fourth place in the points standings with the win and added to the momentum he generated with a fourth-place finish last weekend at Texas.
He’s still 62 points behind Hornish in the chase for the Northern Light Cup, but Lazier thinks he’s in the right position to win back-to-back titles.
“We've had our difficulties this year, but we're still fourth in points,” said Lazier, driver of the No. 91 Dallara-Aurora. “My guys never say die and never give up the faith or the hope.
“That's what we've needed. We've dug ourselves out of a hole."
Lazier dug his hole with a 20th-place finish at Homestead and an 18th at Indianapolis. Those two finishes out of the Top 10 came in the first four races of the season. When he won the IRNLS title last year, Lazier had just two finishes out of the Top 10 during the entire season.
Owner Ron Hemelgarn knows the ups and downs all too well. He hopes the win is a sign that his team has seen all the downs he’s going to see this year.
“We’ve been together for a long time,” he said. “When you put it all together it works. The crew trusts Buddy and knows he’s going to give it all he’s got.
“Our goal is to end up in September to win the championship. We’re going to work hard on the championship. That is what I want to celebrate.”