SAM SCHMIDT MOTORSPORTS PREPARES FOR SEASON FINALE AT HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY
HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- The final race of the 2009 Firestone Indy Lights season takes place this weekend at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida. Practice beings on Thursday night at six with a one-hour session, followed by qualifying and the race on Friday.
Wade Cunningham and James Hinchcliffe chase championship goals.
With just one race left in the 2009 Firestone Indy Lights season, Wade Cunningham and James Hinchcliffe still sit with a mathematical chance at finishing second in the championship standings. Hinchcliffe also is currently second in the rookie standings with a shot of surpassing the current leader, Sebastian Saavedra. The Sam Schmidt Motorsports team has been strong on the high-speed ovals throughout 2009, and past history does not indicate that things will change in Miami. In 2007, the team won at this track with Alex Lloyd behind the wheel, and in 2008, Richard Antinucci finished second for the team. With Sam Schmidt Motorsports having placed cars on the podium in four of six oval races this year, both Hinchcliffe and Cunningham have a great shot to accomplish their championship goals this weekend.
Gustavo Yacaman makes his return after sitting out Chicagoland.
After having to sit out of the most recent round of the championship at the Chicagoland Speedway due to injuries suffered at the Infineon Raceway in the race prior, the youngest driver in Firestone Indy Lights, Gustavo Yacaman, returns to the track this weekend at the Homestead-Miami Speedway looking to finish his rookie campaign on a strong note. He has shown speed on all variations of circuits this year with a best finish of fourth in Milwaukee, but he's very much looking forward to rebounding from his missed race to leave his mark on this race heading into the off-season.
No 7 HINCHTOWN.com/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver James Hinchcliffe
"I'm really excited to get back into the car in Miami. Obviously, my last time out wasn't my happiest memory of the season. It sort of sucked to have had that be my last racing memory for the last five weeks, but it actually ended up being a good break for me because I had a bit of surgery that was required so I had a bit of time to recover well. For me, I think it's going to be a good race. I don't think this race will be quite as hectic and crazy and Chicago was due to the nature of the track, but we've tested at Homestead, and all of the 1.5-mile tracks have been exciting this year. We've had really good cars all year on the ovals. In terms of goals, my goal this weekend simply is to win. Even though it's a long-shot, we're still mathematically eligible for second in points and for the rookie of the year title. I guess on one hand, the pressure is sort of off us because we're on the bottom end of that group of guys that have a shot at second-place so we can go and worry about our own race, and hopefully, if we come out with 50 points, that's going to seriously help out our cause. For me, it's been a great year, and we're just looking for a good result to end it on a high, and it'd be a great thank you to the team to reward them with a victory."
No 11 LUCAS OIL/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver Wade Cunningham
"The team and I are still working hard to secure the best finish we can in this championship. J.R. (Hildebrand) has done a great job all year and has secured the title, but second-place is still open, and that is our goal. It will require the maximum result on my part all weekend, but no one in the field has had better results on ovals, and I know that the team and I are up to it. If we are unable to win the pole, I will be fighting for the lead from the first corner as I did at Iowa and Chicago because every point counts."
No 44 CREPES & WAFFLES/TUVACOL/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver Gustavo Yacaman
"I'm very much looking forward to getting back into the car this weekend. Besides the long time in between races in Chicago and here, it's been much longer for me since I haven't run since the race in Infineon. We've been quick all year, and I have a lot to prove. I'm definitely looking to put up a solid result this weekend."
Team Owner, Sam Schmidt
"It is an unusual feeling for Sam Schmidt Motorsports not to be going to the final race leading the championship points, so I have told my guys "everything goes!" Every Sam Schmidt Motorsports driver has something to prove to their sponsors, family, and even to themselves, so I think they are all equally hungry for a victory. I know we have nothing to lose, but many other teams are in the same position, so it should be an interesting event."