SAM SCHMIDT TEAM KICKS OFF BUSY MONTH WITH INDY 500 PRACTICE
INDIANAPOLIS -- Sam Schmidt Motorsports arrived in full force on Tuesday with five race cars carrying the team name around the famed 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
In the afternoon, Alex Lloyd made his return to Sam Schmidt Motorsports driving in the Indianapolis 500 rookie orientation/refresher program.
Alex Lloyd returns to Sam Schmidt Motorsports and surrounded with good omens.
When Alex Lloyd first joined Sam Schmidt Motorsports for the 2007 season, his wife, Samantha, was pregnant with their first child. Upon returning to the team in May of 2009, Mrs. Lloyd is once again expecting. She is due to give birth in four weeks to their second child. Mr. Lloyd reunites with his race engineer from 2007, Tim Neff, who himself is reuniting with chief engineer, Andy Brown. Neff and Brown worked together at PacWest Racing in the mid-90s. The magic produced in 2007 between Lloyd and Sam Schmidt Motorsports set records in Firestone Indy Lights at the time for most wins in a season (8) and most points scored (652). Everyone is looking to re-produce that magic with a run at the Borg Warner Trophy in May of 2009.
First day of practice for the Indianapolis 500.
Upon completing the Firestone Indy Lights test, the crews of the four Sam Schmidt Motorsports teams put away the small cars, changed into their brand new pink shirts, and went straight to work on the #99 IndyCar for Alex Lloyd. Unfortunately, Lloyd and the crew didn't get the chance to turn nearly as many laps as they had hoped for during Tuesday's running for rookies and those taking refreshers. On his first stint, Lloyd noticed that the steering felt a bit wobbly, and rather than risk the car, he and the team went back to the garage area to give the car a close inspection. Upon returning to the track, the clutch in the #99 car went out. Needless to say, after only running 10 laps, they're looking to return to the track first thing on Wednesday morning and hope to pound out as many laps as possible.
DRIVER NOTES & QUOTES
#99 CHIP GANASSI SAM SCHMIDT RACING Honda Dallara Driver Alex Lloyd
Indianapolis 500 makes first IndyCar race of 2009, second overall in career.
Firestone Indy Lights Champion (2007).
First driver to win on both the road course and oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Best lap of 213. 032 mph in 10 laps of practice on Tuesday.
"Unfortunately, there wasn't much to report about with our first day on the track. We had a couple of issues to iron out with the car like with the clutch and such. We'll get those things taken care of and look to put in a load of laps on Wednesday."
Team Owner, Sam Schmidt Motorsports, Sam Schmidt
"May is always a busy month for us, and it's appropriate that day one was one of the busiest days today. In one sense, it's a bit comical to see the guys running back and forth between garages and changing shirts, but on the other hand, the boys had a very long and tough day, and they are to be commended for their efforts. There's been a tremendous effort that has gone on since Kansas, really, and we had no issues with the Firestone Indy Lights cars today. People need to remember that these efforts are Sam Schmidt Motorsports efforts. It's our boys from the Firestone Indy Lights teams that are turning the wrenches on the IndyCar.
"With regards to the IndyCar, I've haven't been this excited in the past five years coming here. We know we have a very competitive effort, and to be teamed with the last two winners of this race is special. To make things even more special, to reunite with Alex is something that excites us all."
Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation
On Saturday, May 2nd, the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation sponsored the winning hot air balloon in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's Centennial Era Balloon Festival. Sam Schmidt himself got to go up in the balloon the very next day. To see video of the event, see the clip on YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOiaVNTnV9w
On May 13th, the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation will hold its 10th Annual Racing to Recovery Gala. The event at the Ritz Charles in Carmel, Indiana, will celebrate the achievements of the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation as well as serve as the organization's biggest yearly fundraiser. Tickets (only $125 each), sponsorship packages, and media credentials are available by contacting the foundation's president, Ida Cahill, at (317) 236-0999.
Practice resumes on Wednesday at 9 a.m. for the Indianapolis 500. Live timing and streaming video will be available on indycar.com.