INDIANAPOLIS (January 26, 2001) -- One of the greatest hockey players of all time has recently staged a successful comeback, and road racing veteran Dorsey Schroeder hopes the same holds true for him as he joins the American Le Mans Series in ...
INDIANAPOLIS (January 26, 2001) -- One of the greatest hockey players of all time has recently staged a successful comeback, and road racing veteran Dorsey Schroeder hopes the same holds true for him as he joins the American Le Mans Series in 2001.
Schroeder, one of the most well-known and successful American sports car racers ever, will run the full ALMS schedule for Champion Racing in 2001. He and teammate Andy Wallace will co-drive an Audi R8, making Champion the first privateer team to field the car that dominated the 2000 season.
Just as Mario Lemieux has been scoring goals and dishing out assists for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Schroeder hopes to drive to victory lane in his first full season of racing in several years. A racer for 30 seasons, Schroeder stepped away from driving when road racing no longer provided the opportunity for him to earn the type of living he had been accustomed to. The success story of the ALMS has changed his perspective.
"Road racing is coming back," he said. "It's good that I sat back and analyzed where it was going. It went down to nothing, and I took it personally. I've watched what Don Panoz has done with the American Le Mans Series very closely, and I'm glad to see it.
"It's been tough to just sit there and use up good years of your life wanting to be a competitor," said Schroeder, who will be 48 when the ALMS season starts at Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth on Mar. 4.
"I'm proud to be considered at my age to come back and run against the Europeans and all of those younger guys," he said. "But if they need their eyes opened, they'd better watch out!"
Schroeder has kept active behind the scenes, working as a driving instructor for the Skip Barber Racing School. He has also remained in touch with the sport's players through his work as a television analyst for Speedvision and other outlets.
"Working in TV has been fun," he said. "I love racing, and I've always been a good spectator. Doing the TV and working for Skip have combined to keep my interest up. I still have the heart and the desire to race hard."
Schroeder has the ultimate respect for Champion Racing and owner Dave Maraj, for whom he has driven in the past. "Mr. Maraj always has a first-class effort, as good as any factory team I've ever seen," he said. "Those guys work as hard as anyone. They live and breathe racing.
"The team will ultimately be very competitive," he said.
Champion Racing will not have its Audi R8 in hand until shortly before the Texas race, and Schroeder feels that he and Wallace will be underdogs at that event because of a lack of time to test. "We will be on a steep learning curve," he said. "I feel that with my experience, and Andy's experience, we'll be in a conservative mode there because we won't even sit in the car until we get there. But if we can keep it off the walls, we'll have a good finish.
"We know the car is good, and we have the setup sheets and all of that," he said. "The hardest thing is the unknown quantity. After Texas, we'll have a couple of weeks before the next race at Sebring (Mar. 17), and I think we can go there and win. With all of my experience there with Skip Barber, I feel really good about that race.
"It's just great to be back," he said.
Ticket information for the Leather Center Grand Prix of Texas is available online at www.texasmotorspeedway.com, or by telephoning the TMS ticket office at (817) 215-8500.
Ticket information for the Superflo 12 Hours at Sebring, Presented by Dodge, is available online at www.sebringraceway.com or by phone at 863-655-1442.