IRL: Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation pre-Kentucky notes

Schmidt Set for Biggest Day At The Races of the Year Large turnout expected at Kentucky Speedway SPARTA, Ky. - It's a stubborn habit he picked up from his father - his relentless conviction to tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that.

Schmidt Set for Biggest Day At The Races of the Year
Large turnout expected at Kentucky Speedway

SPARTA, Ky. - It's a stubborn habit he picked up from his father - his relentless conviction to tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that. Sam Schmidt, a quadriplegic since 2000, takes his new role in stride and uses his personal willpower to help other paralysis victims realize their potential in their new situations.

Through the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation and with the help of Kentucky Speedway, Andretti Green Racing and local organizations, Schmidt will again host area patients with spinal cord injuries and other debilitating injuries in the "Day At The Races" program, Saturday, Aug. 13, at the speedway.

"The Day at the Races program at Kentucky always gives me a mid-season boost of energy from a motivational standpoint," explained Schmidt. "Working with local spinal cord organizations and Hamilton's Assistive Technology Services out of Cincinnati for the last three years, this event always generates at least 80 participants and inspires me to manage a really busy August schedule. This is our model event and I really appreciate the continued support of Andretti Green and Kentucky Speedway."

The Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation (SSPF), Kentucky Speedway and Andretti Green Racing will give local spinal cord injury patients and their guests, the opportunity to experience open wheel racing behind the scenes -- and to be encouraged by Schmidt, who works daily to overcome the adversities of his own spinal cord injuries.

As part of the program, Schmidt's guests will dine in the Andretti Green Racing hospitality area, tour the pits and garages of the speedway, watch IndyCar practice and spend some time hearing stories and words of inspiration from Schmidt.

"I enjoy exposing all the guests to the excitement of open wheel racing at the highest level. I want them to have a behind the scenes look that the majority of them would never have the opportunity to see otherwise," says Schmidt. "Most importantly, for the recently injured or disabled rehabilitation patients, is that they realize their situation doesn't mean they can't have a life and pursue their interests when released from the hospital."

Schmidt's successful IndyCar racing career ended in January of 2000, when his race car crashed during a practice session. With the persuasion of friends and family, Sam founded Sam Schmidt Motorsports, which will field Menards Infiniti Pro Series race cars for Travis Gregg, Jaime Camara and Chris Festa on in the Bluegrass 100 Saturday, August 13th. The team gives Schmidt an outlet for his racing talent and it provides a good promotional foundation for his true passion, the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation.

SSPF strives to help individuals overcome spinal cord injuries. SSPF facilitates scientific research, medical treatment, rehabilitation and raises funds to improve the quality of life of those affected by spinal cord injuries and other debilitating injuries and illnesses.

"I emphasize to those with spinal cord injuries that many exciting research projects and programs are underway around the world and they should make every effort to stay in shape with the hope that procedures are coming to improve their situation. What the future holds for each of them is entirely up to them individually," says Schmidt. "Positive attitude is everything!"

Sam Schmidt spends two and a half hours each morning getting out of bed and ready for each day. He keeps his body in very good physical condition. He does this all because he has hope that there will be a cure some day, and he wants to be ready to walk when that day comes.

"I don't want to have to wait even longer to rebuild muscles--when I get to walk again, I want to be ready! And keeping your body healthy keeps you from getting a lot of the other illnesses that can easily affect a person that's not getting much activity," Schmidt explains.

For more information about the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation visit www.SamSchmidt.org or call (317) 236-9999.

-sspf-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Sam Schmidt , Chris Festa , Travis Gregg