Indy 500: CGR/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Pole Day report

'PINK' LLOYD PUTS 'HER' CAR IN THE SHOW WITH LAST-MINUTE QUALIFING EFFORT AT INDIANAPOLIS INDIANAPOLIS -- With the closing gun set to go off at 6 p.m. on Saturday, the HER Energy CGR/SSM Racing crew sent Alex Lloyd onto the track for his ...


INDIANAPOLIS -- With the closing gun set to go off at 6 p.m. on Saturday, the HER Energy CGR/SSM Racing crew sent Alex Lloyd onto the track for his first qualification attempt for this year's Indianapolis 500, and after driving an untested setup and holding the car flat-out for four laps, he snuck his way into the Top 11 fastest of the day with an 11th-place result, making him the last car to qualify today for the May 24th event.

Lloyd and the crew, utilizing a car prepared by Chip Ganassi Racing and maintained by Sam Schmidt Motorsports, achieved a monumental feat as Lloyd hasn't driven in an IndyCar race since May of 2008, and Sam Schmidt Motorsports runs this operation on a part-time, limited basis.

Everyone involved worked meticulously and patiently all day to get the car up to speed after the morning practice session when the car was off the pace. Utilizing track time when available, the team continued to make changes to the car looking to increase its speed.

Late in the day, a radical set of changes were made to the car, and Lloyd turned in a limited number of laps to see how the car felt. Just after 5 p.m., several more changes were made to the car. Lloyd and the team were hoping to test the car once more before making their qualification attempt, but time was quickly running out with a flurry of cars heading into the qualifying line. The team was left with no choice but to put the car in line without testing their new setup.

The timing was just right as they were the second-to-last car to make an attempt, and most importantly, the last car to qualify for the race.

On Sunday, qualifying will take place to determine spots 12 through 22, but for the #99 HER Energy CGR/SSM Racing team, they'll utilize the track time available to run full-fuel stints and prepare for race day. At the end of the day, Sam Schmidt Motorsports will put the IndyCar away and prepare to leave for Milwaukee on Monday for a Firestone Indy Lights test on Tuesday.

Practice on Sunday begins at 10:15 a.m. EST. Qualifying follows at noon with coverage live on VERSUS in HD. When the qualifying line breaks, the track will open for practice, and the HER Energy car will begin testing. All on-track action not shown during the television window can be seen live on


#99 HER Energy CGR/SSM RACING Honda Dallara Driver Alex Lloyd

"It was a tough day. The wind was hard. We went out early in the morning, and the car (balance) just wasn't there. We didn't have the balance or the speed we had Friday. We made some big changes. We put together a completely different car. Just then (qualifying run) was our first run, basically. It felt really good to me. We could have taken more downforce off and picked up more speed. I felt ready even though it was getting quite late before the gun was off. I was ready to go. That was a close one. I really just wanted to get in today. That was my main thing. I want to work on the race from now on. It was a great day for everyone at HER Energy. They're very excited to have their first taste of the Indy 500."

Team Owner, Sam Schmidt

"This is absolutely huge considering everything else we have going on as a team. When you look at the people that are running full-time in this series and have monumental efforts and massive teams and everything else, we clearly need to thank Chip Ganassi and Mike Hull and that entire organization. I have to say thanks to the guys for their hard efforts and all of their hours, and most importantly, we need to thank Alex because at 5:55, we asked him if he wanted to go or wanted to wait, and he absolutely, positively had his mind made up that he was going to go, and he got the job done. For somebody that doesn't have a full-time ride and isn't doing this week-in, week-out, it was a pretty impressive effort. For me personally, this is as excited as I've been in my years as a car owner at this level, and now I can't wait for race day."

Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation
On May 13th, the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation will hold its 10th Annual Racing to Recovery Gala. The event at the Ritz Charles in Carmel, Indiana, will celebrate the achievements of the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation as well as serve as the organization's biggest yearly fundraiser. Tickets (only $125 each), sponsorship packages, and media credentials are available by contacting the foundation's president, Ida Cahill, at (317) 236-0999.

-credit: ssm

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Sam Schmidt , Chip Ganassi , Alex Lloyd , Mike Hull
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing