Orlando, FL: After successful surgery at the Orlando Regional Medical Center to stabilize an upper spinal fracture, Treadway Racing driver Sam Schmidt has been upgraded to serious, but stable condition following an accident that occurred yesterday morning during practice at the Orlando open test.

The surgical procedure, performed by neurosurgeon Dr. Phillip St. Louis, included a bone graft to fuse the C-3 and C-4 vertabrae, which is considered common for this type of injury, and a pin has been placed in the area for additional stabilization of the fracture. The procedure went smoothly and Schmidt is currently awake, alert and responsive, however, he is still suffering from some paralysis. He remains in the intensive-care unit and additional tests are expected. At this time there are no conclusive answers regarding the duration and extent of his paralysis.

Last year's Las Vegas winner, Schmidt was taken to the hospital following a Turn 2 rear-impact in his 1999 Treadway Racing G-Force/ Aurora/Firestone car at 9:20 a.m. EDT yesterday morning. At this time, the cause of the accident is unknown. The incident occurred on his sixth lap out during morning practice.

In lieu of flowers and gifts, well-wishers are encouraged by the Schmidt family to send donations in Sam's name to either CARA Charities or IRL Ministries in care of Ruthie Culbertson at the Treadway Racing office address listed above.

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