IRL: Schmidt Motorsports signs Greg Ray for rest of season

IRL: Schmidt Motorsports signs Greg Ray for rest of season

INDIANAPOLIS -- September 3, 2002 -- Sam Schmidt Motorsports has reached an agreement with Greg Ray to run the remaining Indy Racing League events of 2002 at Chicago and Texas in the ...

INDIANAPOLIS -- September 3, 2002 -- Sam Schmidt Motorsports has reached an agreement with Greg Ray to run the remaining Indy Racing League events of 2002 at Chicago and Texas in the #20 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Indy car entry.

The event at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., is Sunday, Sept. 8, and the IRL season finale at Texas Motor Speedway in Forth Worth is Sunday, Sept. 15. Both races will be aired live on ABC-TV.

Greg Ray.
Photo by David Stringer.

Sam Schmidt Motorsports is currently tenth in the team entrant point battle and believes they will remain competitive with former champion Ray. After a season ending injury to Richie Hearn, Sam Schmidt Motorsports was evaluating their options and both parties felt this would be just the right fit to finish the 2002 season strong.

On Tuesday, Ray requested to be released from his contract with A.J. Foyt for the remaining two races this year because the team was over-stressed and under-funded. The opportunity with Sam Schmidt Motorsports developed upon Ray's release from Foyt Racing. Although, they are long-time friends, this is the first time that Ray will work with the Schmidt Motorsports organization.

"I have great respect and admiration for my good friend Sam, and I'm glad to drive his car for Chicago and Texas," Ray stated. "and I'm very excited to work with Sam; he's got a very solid group of guys who have been competitive all season."

"We are very excited to be fielding a car for Greg, especially in his hometown where there is huge fan support," Schmidt said. "We just felt a strong competitor like Greg would be the best bet for us, since he has a proven record and we want to provide a competitive car so we all can have a good finish for this season. And, of course, we want to ensure a top-10 finish in the entrant points."

Ray, a former '99 IRL Champion and 2000 Indy 500 Pole sitter, is the IRL career record-holder for the most Poles (14). Greg and Sam are the only driver's to ever tie for the pole position for a race, Pikes Peak 1999, and Ray is the only driver in this series to win two races in a year from the pole position. (1999 -- both Pikes Peak races)

Sam Schmidt Motorsports finished 6th at this year Indy 500 and have a season-high 4th place finish at Nashville. As a driver, Schmidt earned one Indy Racing victory and pole, both achieved in his hometown of Las Vegas in September 1999 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. In January 2000, Schmidt became a quadriplegic due to injuries suffered in a practice crash at Orlando, Fla. Schmidt now puts his master's degree in international finance from Pepperdine University to work managing the marketing efforts for his team and the strategic direction of the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation.

-ssm/tr-

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Series INDYCAR