Vail’s own Indy 500 team
Special to the Daily
INDIANAPOLIS — Although anyone can buy a ticket to sit in the grandstand at Indianapolis for the Indy 500, only the privileged insiders get to watch the race from the team garages and competitors hospitality areas and truly be part of the action. It’s a thrill that will never be forgotten and affords very exclusive bragging rights. What most don’t know is that such an opportunity exists in the mountain town of Vail.
One of Vail’s oldest families is also one of America’s foremost racing families. Bob Lazier, owner and proprietor of the Tivoli Lodge, is the patriarch of the family and commenced the family tradition of racing in the Indy 500 when he competed in 1981 and was Championship Auto Racing Teams’ Rookie of the Year.
The Laziers are searching for enthusiasts interested in being a part owner and team member of an Indy 500 car, as well as helping Jaques Lazier compete in Indianapolis.
Bob’s elder son, Buddy, joined the elite Indy 500 winner’s circle in 1996. Beside his win, Buddy was second in 1998 and 2000, fourth in 1997, fifth in 2005 and seventh in 1999. He qualified 14 straight years for the Indy between 1995 and 2008.
All in the family
Bob’s younger son Jaques’ motorsports career began in go-carts at the age of 11. He won back-to-back championships in the International Karting Federation of Colorado, moving up to Formula Vee in 1989. He quickly established a name for himself in formula racing by amassing an impressive 16 victories in SCCA national-level competition. Continuing his climb to the top, Jaques moved up to the fiercely competitive ranks of Formula Ford and won four national events in his first season.
While at college, Jaques drove in Formula Vee, Formula Ford and The American IndyCar Series. He secured the pole position and set a new track record at the 1995 SCCA National Championships, and at the same time graduated on the dean’s list from Chapman University in Orange, Calif., with a degree in business communications.
It was in 1996 Jaques returned to full-time racing, his chosen career. He won the Formula Vee National Championship and along with that title, Jaques was honored with the prestigious Mark Donohue Award. The award recipient is chosen by his peers in racing, based on outstanding sportsmanship and an individual’s competitive spirit. It was also in 1996 that Jaques won four out of five major AIS events.
In 1999, Jaques competed in seven Indy Racing League events, leading in two races and accumulating five top-10 finishes, proving he had the talent and will to succeed in competitive Indy Car Racing.
The elusive Indy win
However, it was at the Indy in 2000 where Jaques proved that he could run with the very best. With only 60 laps in a brand new car, Jaques qualified 13th fastest, as a rookie, with a four-lap average of 220.675 mph. Despite suffering refueling problems, Jaques finished a very respectable 13th.
In 2001 at the Richmond International Raceway, Jaques won the MBNA Pole Award with a track record that would last for three years. Later that year, driving for the famed Team Menard Racing at Nashville Speedway, Jaques finished third while at Chicagoland Raceway. Jaques again won the MBNA Pole, led 125 of 200 laps and won the race by 15 seconds, the largest margin in series history.
Jaques went on to drive for such famous winning teams as Target Ganassi, Pat Patrick Racing, Team Extreme, Sam Schmidt Racing, Joe Truscelli Racing and Foyt Racing.
Jacques has run in six Indys to date and is going back for that elusive win. That’s where the Vail community comes in — the Laziers are offering a partnership that includes part ownership of the race car and access to the Indy garages and pits, team credentials and unlimited access to all the IndyCar races in 2014, as well as many other entertainment options.
If you have a hankering to be on the inside, and get involved with the car or team, then you can contact Bob Lazier at the Tivoli Lodge at 970-476-5615. Over an aptly named Indini cocktail, and with the lodge’s chocolate Labrador Indy at your feet, Bob will explain it all to you.