Buddy Lazier looking for a car at the Indy 500 | VailDaily.com

Buddy Lazier looking for a car at the Indy 500

Daily Staff Writer
Special to the Daily/Ton McQueery, IRL Vail's Buddy Lazier is looking for a car to drive in the 2004 Indianapolis 500. Lazier won the race in 1996.

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of updates on driver Buddy Lazier as he prepares for the 88th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 30.

Special to the Daily

Practice for the 88th running of the Indianapolis 500 started today, but 1996 winner Buddy Lazier of Vail, continues to search for a car to drive.

“I think my prospects are really good, but it takes time,” Lazier said optimistically. “There are between 20 and 25 race teams but many of their drivers have multi-year deals. It is not like the NFL where there are 500 positions available, and there’s always movement.”

Lazier is looking forward to racing in his 12th 500 and he is optimistic that he will find a car to drive within a few days. For eight years, he had been with the same team, but that arrangement ended last season. A year ago, he started and finished in 21st place.

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Today marked the opening day of practice for the 500 and 33 cars took to the track, the most on a scheduled opening day since 1999. As the day progressed, the practice speeds increased and Scott Dixon, the defending Indy Racing League IndyCar Series champion, led the speed parade with a rapid lap of 219.760 miles per hour. He drove a Toyota-powered G-Force entry.

Helio Castroneves, 2001 and 2002 Indy 500 winner, was a mere 0.0008 of a second slower with a speed of 219.752 mph followed by Mexico’s Adrian Fernandez, South Africa’s Tomas Scheckter and England’s Dan Wheldon.

Rookie drivers Mark Taylor and Ed Carpenter were next-fastest drivers followed by Bruno Junqueira and Tony Kanaan.

Sarah Fisher, a four-time participant, was the first driver on the track and her mother, Reba Fisher, waved the green flag to start the first day of practice.

“Waving that green flag for Sarah meant the world to me, making this one of the greatest Mother’s Days any mom could ask for. The toughest part was holding back the tears in front of everyone,” Reba Fisher said.

Practice continues through Friday, with the opening two rounds of qualifications set for Saturday and Sunday; final time trials on May 23; and the 88th running of the race, to be aired live on ABC Sports, on May 30.

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