Lazier qualifies in 29th for Indy 500
I had a very uneventful four (qualifying) laps today. The race driver in me wanted to take down-force out of the car and go faster. But, I think my team would have wringed my neck. I have been with this team for two days, and I really enjoy working with Owen Snyder, the engineer, and the rest of the team.We didn’t make any changes to the car this morning, and I ran some 217 miles-per-hour laps. Then, I got on the radio and said to Owen, “Let’s adjust our down-force and go faster.”Owen answered, “Don’t get racey with me.”This is the first time I have qualified a car that was already in race trim. It was incredibly comfortable. I was glued to the track. With every lap I run the car, I am gaining confidence with it. If anything, I was more comfortable than ever with it.My team made it very clear to me that we were not to do anything other than to get into the field. They just didn’t want me to get aggressive for qualifying. There wasn’t any need to. After all, this wasn’t Pole Day. Again, the racer in me wanted to put up faster numbers. The car is capable of going very fast, but our speed today was good enough for what we needed to do.I feel like I could have been a contender for the first two rows (of the starting field). Even though we are starting way back in the field, we may be a long shot for a good finish. This team is in really good shape, and it knows exactly what it is doing.My deal with this team is only for the 500, but it would be a magnificent arrangement, for me, for it to go beyond the 500. I know for a fact that you almost have to be part of a two-car team to be competitive these days.It is such a pleasure to qualify for the Indy 500. I have been coming here since I was a teenager. From that point on, I just wanted to qualify a car. A lot of people think I am older than I am, but I am only in my mid-30s. I started racing as a teenager. The first year I qualified for the race gave me such a magnificent feeling. It is such a remarkable accomplishment. I feel the same way today. This is such a great race to be in.When my father (Buddy Lazier) raced here, I didn’t get to come with him. As a kid, I listened to the race on the radio. It was always the highlight of my year when the Indy 500 came around. For my whole life, the Indy 500 has been so special.Editor’s Note: This is the first of two columns on Buddy Lazier, who qualified 29th on Sunday at an average speed of 215.110 miles per hour in the Dreyer & Reinbold/Hemelgarn Racing No. 91 Dallara/Chevrolet for his 12th Indianapolis 500.