“We’re in their garage now.”
That’s what 1996 Indianapolis 500 champion Buddy Lazier said as he stepped into the laboratories at the University of Iowa Stephen A. Wynn Institute for Vision Research Thursday afternoon.
Lazier toured the Wynn Institute to learn more about the groundbreaking vision research being done on campus. Lazier’s 12-year-old daughter, Jacqueline, is affected by an eye disease called aniridia.
“From my perspective it gives me hope,” Lazier said. “My daughter has a condition that these folks are working on. We’re all in and we would do anything we could to help because you know these guys are making a difference.”
Lazier Partners Racing teamed with the Wynn Institute at the 2014 Indianapolis 500, carrying the Wynn Institute and Tigerhawk logos on the car during the race. Lazier and his family wanted to use the power of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” to gain exposure for the Wynn Institute and the incredible research being done on the University of Iowa campus. The bond between the race team and the university continues to deepen.
“We’re extremely appreciative and extremely proud to be associated with the Lazier family,” said Dr. Ed Stone, director of the Wynn Institute. “We have a spectacular metaphor of the race. We are working on it everyday to go faster and to win, and in our case, it’s winning the race against blindness.
Dr. John Fingert’s laboratory within the Wynn Institute is focused on finding causes and treatments for glaucoma. Fingert sees the partnership as a motivator for him and his staff.
“For us, it’s empowered us to go back to work and move as fast as we can towards cures,” Fingert said. “We love having him on our team.”
Lazier isn’t in Iowa City to only tour the Wynn Institute; he is serving as grand marshal for the 2014 Homecoming parade.
“It’ll be cool, are you kidding me? It’s a great honor for me and I appreciate it very much,” Lazier said. “But I’m going to enjoy the heck out of it. It’s too bad we can’t start the race car up, but an Indy car won’t go that slow.”