Originally created 10/15/02

Jaques Lazier tests car for first time since April injury



INDIANAPOLIS -- Jaques Lazier, who broke his back during the IRL Firestone Indy 255 in April, tested his Team Menard race car over the weekend and said he can't wait to resume his career next season.

"It was great. We picked up right where we left off," Lazier said Monday. "I think the team was excited. I was definitely excited. My biggest concern was how my back would respond, and it felt fantastic."

Lazier, younger brother of 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Lazier, was fourth in the IRL standings at the time of the April collision with Tomas Scheckter at Nazareth Speedway. Eight titanium screws were put in his back, and he spent the next 14 weeks in a back brace.

The 77 laps of testing at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday marked his first time on a track since his injury.

"We did a lot of things to see how it would react, like leaving the pits hard, braking hard down pit lane, and I felt great no problems whatsoever," the 31-year-old driver said. "The test was really more about me than it was the car, and I have to say it was very successful."

Lazier was to have driven on the 1.5-mile Kentucky track on Friday, but the test was delayed a day by rain.

"I was a little disappointed because I was so ready to get in the car," he said. "But I figured, 'Hey, I've waited six months to get back in this car, what's one more day?"'