Buddy Lazier is to make his first attempt to start the Indianapolis 500 since 2009, with the announcement that he'll be driving the #91 Lazier Partners car for Lazier Partners Racing, owned by Lazier himself and his father Bob.
Lazier made 16 starts in the Indy 500 between 1991 and 2008, and won the 500-mile race in 1996. He was also the IndyCar series champion in 2000 driving for Hemelgarn Racing.
“This all happened roughly 10 days ago and we're literally putting everything together now," said Lazier. "Sponsors are coming by the day, but we're all heading to Indianapolis to get it done.
It will be Lazier's first outing in the new-era DW12 Dallara and the latest specification engines that were introduced to the IZOD IndyCar Series at the start of the 2012 season.
"I have so many miles around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that I feel comfortable with the racetrack," he said. "I haven't driven this new rules package but I was around with turbo-charged engines before the Indy Racing League was formed. I'm looking forward to it.
“I know the car will be fast. I just don't know how much track time we'll get before qualifying," he added.
The single Dallara chassis acquired by the fledgling team is actually the same one that Jean Alesi qualified and started last year's Indy 500 in, with Lazier acting as the former F1 driver's coach in the run-up to race day. Alesi's bid didn't go very far, though: powered by a Lotus engine, it was ordered to the garage by race control just minutes into the race for not maintaining sufficient pace.
“We had a good opportunity to buy this car, which is basically brand new,” explained Lazier. “We were sitting around with a bunch of friends who are businessmen and skiers talking about how we could buy this car, put a team together and run Indy. I come back the next day and these guys bought it!"
At least Lazier won't be struggling with a Lotus engine in the back of it: he's struck a deal with Chevrolet for a unit, so there will be no power disadvantage.
"I had to explain that we need a run budget, we have to lease the engine, but the process continued," added Lazier of how the deal to field a car in this year's race gathered momentum.