Vail’s Flinn Lazier gets grand prix ride with Paul Newman racing
What: Vail’s Flinn Lazier is racing in this weekend’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, at Barber Motorsports Park, Birmingham, Alabama.
When: 1:30 p.m. Sunday
Where to watch: NBC Sports Network
VAIL — Flinn Lazier did what we all do sometimes to get a ride — he picked up the phone and called a guy who knows a guy who knows another guy.
The next thing you know, Flinn landed behind the wheel of Newman Wachs Racing’s No. 38 car for this weekend’s Grand Prix of Alabama in Birmingham.
Flinn was born and raised in Vail. He’s the beloved offspring of 1996 Indy 500 champion Buddy Lazier, and grandson of three-time 24 Hours of Daytona winner Bob Lazier.
You could say Flinn is following the family tire tracks.
Newman Wachs Team Manager Brian Halahan was the guy who knew the guy who Flinn called.
“This whole thing started when a long-time friend who works with Flinn in racing contacted me recently and said I should speak to him, and here we are,” Halahan said.
The Vail Mountain School senior said he is happy to be in Alabama.
“I’m excited and very happy to have an opportunity to jump into the Newman Wachs USF2000. We really had no idea what we were going to do this season, and just to have a one-race opportunity at the moment means a lot to me. From what I’ve seen so far, the Newman Wachs car is quick so I think we can make good ground over the weekend,” Flinn said.
Like all good race drivers, Flinn remembered to thank his sponsor, Stalk It.
Road to Indy
The Grand Prix of Alabama is raced at the Barber Motorsports Park, a 2.3-mile road course.
It’s part of the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires. It’s Indy Car racing’s version of AAA baseball and the tour sponsors races all around the country, ranging from road courses to street races to ovals. It’s a big step along the Mazda Road to the Indy 500. In fact, Indy champions Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, JR Hildebrand, James Hinchcliffe, Tony Kanaan, Charlie Kimball, Josef Newgarden and Spencer Pigot are all series graduates.
For now, driving for Newman Wachs Racing is a one-weekend deal, but you never know, Halahan said.
“Hopefully we’ll have him with us for more events this season,” Halahan said. “With all the racing history that the name Lazier carries, this makes a great story and a great opportunity for our team to help him move forward with his racing career.”
Flinn Lazier started racing karts at the age of six, and was a consistent winner in the SKUSA National Championship at the Junior level.
Two years ago, he started racing open-wheel cars, and became champion of SCCA Regional Racing Formula Vee for both 2015 and 2016. He won Round 1 of the SCCA Super Tour at Sebring International Raceway.
Even the Lazier family dog is named “Speed.”
Flinn Lazier is a competitive ski racer and plays soccer for Vail Mountain School. He says he’s headed to the University of Denver next year to study business marketing.
VMS is on spring break this week, which will likely lead to the school hallway conversation:
“Flinn, what did you do on your spring break?”
“I did about 180 mph.”
Newman Wachs Racing is owned by Eddie Wachs and Paul Newman, the actor and racer until his death. They raced together for 15 years.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.