LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., 10 p.m. (EST), Thursday, Jan. 6, 2000 - Indy Racing League driver Sam Schmidt will undergo surgery at Orlando Regional Medical Center to stabilize a spinal injury suffered in an accident this morning during the league's Open Test at Walt Disney World Speedway. The surgery could begin tonight, said Dr. Henry Bock, Indy Racing League director of medical services. Schmidt, 35, continues to suffer from some paralysis, Bock said. The determination of the extent and duration of Schmidt's paralysis cannot be made at this time, Bock said. Schmidt, from Las Vegas, remains in critical condition in the intensive-care unit at Orlando Regional Medical Center. He remains conscious and alert. A three-year Indy Racing veteran, Schmidt was injured when the rear of his 1999-spec Treadway Racing G Force/Aurora/Firestone car hit the outside retaining wall in Turn 2 of the 1-mile tri-oval. He was transported via air to Orlando Regional Medical Center immediately after the accident, which occurred at 9:20 a.m. (EST) today. Schmidt was testing with other Indy Racing drivers in preparation for the season-opening Delphi Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Speedway on Jan. 29. More details about Schmidt's injuries and condition will be provided when available.

-IRL/IMS-