Watkins Glen: Sam Schmidt Motorsports preview

SAM SCHMIDT MOTORSPORTS RETURNS TO ROAD RACING THIS WEEKEND AT THE GLEN WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- The summer schedule is in full swing this weekend as Sam Schmidt Motorsports comes fresh from a 1-2-3-5 finish at the Iowa Speedway (the team's first...

SAM SCHMIDT MOTORSPORTS RETURNS TO ROAD RACING THIS WEEKEND AT THE GLEN

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- The summer schedule is in full swing this weekend as Sam Schmidt Motorsports comes fresh from a 1-2-3-5 finish at the Iowa Speedway (the team's first podium sweep) to this weekend's road course event at the Watkins Glen International Raceway. Practice begins on Friday morning at 10:30 a.m. EDT with a 45-minute session. Qualifying follows at 1:45 p.m. Final practice takes place on Saturday at 9 a.m., and the Firestone Indy Lights race starts that afternoon at 1. All on track-sessions can be viewed live via streaming video on indycar.com.

The television broadcast of the Corning 100 airs on Monday, July 6, at 11 p.m. EDT on VERSUS.

Sam Schmidt Motorsports looks to defend race win in Watkins Glen.

In this last two years, four races have been held at Watkins Glen, and Sam Schmidt Motorsports has won once in each year. In 2008, Richard Antinucci led the way for the team claiming victory in race two. In 2007, Alex Lloyd took top honors, also in race two.

Wade Cunningham and Ana Beatriz seek return visit to the Glen's podium.

When Sam Schmidt Motorsports didn't win race one at the Glen in 2007, it was current Sam Schmidt driver Wade Cunningham who took the victory. He looks to get back onto the podium here this weekend. In his other three starts, he's finished second on two occasions and third once. He's also earned two pole positions at the track. His teammate, Ana Beatriz, fresh off her win at the Iowa Speedway, returns to Watkins Glen after debuting here last year with a fourth and third-place results. She even led laps in last year's second race. She and Cunningham both look to utilize their past experience to produce great results this weekend.

James Hinchcliffe, fresh off best oval finish, looks forward to first race on famed course.

Coming up through the North American karting and formula car ranks, James Hinchcliffe has raced on and enjoyed success on many of the continent's famous road racing and street circuits. However, this weekend marks his first race at the famed Watkins Glen International Raceway. Having tied his Firestone Indy Lights career-best finish at the last round, third, and best oval result overall, he looks forward to continuing that momentum in this weekend's Corning 100.

Gustavo Yacaman, youngest driver in series, looks for third top-five in a row.

Though the main goal all season-long for 18-year old Gustavo Yacaman has been to complete as many laps as possible, he's surpassed expectations, especially in the last two rounds of the series where he finished fourth at Milwaukee and fifth at Iowa. He, like the rest of the team, looks to capitalize on his recent momentum and put together his third consecutive top-five result. In fact, he's looking to take his first step onto the podium with a third-place result or better this weekend.

DRIVER NOTES & QUOTES

#7 HINCHTOWN.com/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver James Hinchcliffe

"I'm excited to race at Watkins Glen because it's one of the more famed and historic tracks of North America and one of the few that I haven't driven on. It seems to be a popular track among the other drivers so I don't see a reason why I wouldn't agree. For me, it's important to get up to speed as quickly as possible. Hopefully, we roll off the trailer with a good car first thing Friday morning, and if we can do that, then the key for me is to get a lot of laps in that first practice session to learn the track and know what to do to the car in between the first two on-track sessions. Then, we need to make sure we get good, clean laps in qualifying. Traffic might be an issue here. Tows might be something that comes into effect because there's some long straights here that are going to affect people's times. So, finding clear laps, and also if you have traffic, playing it the right way, it's going to be a strategy game I think. It seems like a pretty quick, flowing track, and that suits my style pretty well. It's going to be tough with limited practice time heading straight into qualifying so it's really going to be important to maximize that time and learn as quickly as we can."

#11 LUCAS OIL/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver Wade Cunningham

"Because Watkins Glen is such a fast running track, you're not forcing the car around like a street course. But, because of the high speed corners and long straights here, you can't run a lot of downforce. So, the track requires a lot of confidence and commitment from the driver in order to be quick. If you can get it all right, you're rewarded as a driver. We're definitely looking to make a move up in the points standings this weekend. Catching up to J.R. (Hildebrand) is the main goal. I expect we'll be battling with him, (Sebastian) Saavedra, and everyone else that are the regulars for the pole and race win."

#20 HEALTHY CHOICE/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver Ana Beatriz

"Last year, our race here was pretty good. We were able to finish on the podium our first time here with the Healthy Choice/Sam Schmidt team in Watkins Glen, and the two people in front of me are driving in the IndyCar race this year. I know the areas that we needed to improve on from last year, and we've been working a lot on those things after the race in Iowa. I'm pretty confident that we'll be fast. We'll just concentrate on our program and look to be fast right away since we have very little practice before we have to go into qualifying. I'm very confident we'll do well here, and everyone on the team has worked very hard to make sure we do so, so I'm very excited."

#44 CREPES & WAFFLES/TUVACOL/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver Gustavo Yacaman

"I'd like to see us continue our runs of finishing in the top-five and maybe improve. We definitely don't want to take a step backwards. As always, we have to finish the race and earn as many points as we can. That's important. I think I need a good qualifying session at a track like this. If we can do that, after that, we'll be in good shape."

Team Owner, Sam Schmidt Motorsports, Sam Schmidt
"First off, I want to congratulate USA Soccer for its tremendous performance in the FIFA International Tournament recently completed, beating Spain and almost winning the title. However, I am quite bummed they didn't beat Brazil in the finals as Bia would have had to wear a Team USA jersey all weekend per our bet. Joking aside, Sam Schmidt Motorsports is looking forward to Watkins Glen and a string of road course races. Both Wade and Bia have had terrific success recently and at this circuit, so we are looking to build momentum. Gusty and Hinch will be on a steep learning curve, but with their talent I expect them to be up to speed in time for qualifying, which this weekend, we don't have a lot of time to get ready with."

Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation
On Saturday, July 4, the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation and Sam Schmidt Motorsports will be hosting its "Day at the Races" event in the Target/Chip Ganassi Racing Hospitality area at 11 a.m. EDT. Around 50 guests will be provided lunch and learn about the quality of life programs available to the spinal cord injured and their families. Media inquiries about the foundation can be directed to Ida Cahill, the foundation President -- (609) 638-2083.

-credit: ssm

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Sam Schmidt , Richard Antinucci , Alex Lloyd , Wade Cunningham , James Hinchcliffe , Ana Beatriz , Gustavo Yacaman
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing