A Top 10 For Schmidt and the Treadway Team Phoenix, AZ: The whole weekend for Treadway Racing was relived during the running of the second event on the Pep Boys Indy Racing League, at the Phoenix International Raceway today. The MCI Worldcom...
A Top 10 For Schmidt and the Treadway Team
Phoenix, AZ: The whole weekend for Treadway Racing was relived during the running of the second event on the Pep Boys Indy Racing League, at the Phoenix International Raceway today. The MCI Worldcom 200 was not without complications for the Treadway Racing team and the #99 Sprint PCS entry of Sam Schmidt. However, luck and skill did not stray too far away and the team came across the final line comfortably for an eighth place finish.
The team began the weekend with a clear strategy and concentrated on running full fuel loads and race day set-up on their '99 G-Force/Aurora/Firestone package. Rather than focusing on speed for qualifying, the team worked steadily on set-ups until the car was able to run top five speeds in practice against cars that were running lighter fuel loads.
Turbulence set in as the team battled a minor fire in practice that forced them to run the back-up car, only to settle again as the back-up car proved just as competitive as the primary. Things turned upside down one more time as Schmidt battled a slight oversteer in his qualifying run which placed him in the back third of the grid for race start.
The race itself seemed to repeat this pattern as Schmidt dove toward the front lines as the green flag fell and was up to seventh by lap number 78. The car was on rails and through excellent timing the team was able to pick up five positions in the pits during routine stops.
Just as things were looking up, a pressure problem with the right rear tire forced the team to pit out of sequence and fall a lap down and back to seventeenth. Down but not out, Schmidt pushed the car back up through the field and into the top 10. However, a final stop was needed to ensure that there would be enough fuel to make it to the finish. Luck intervened and the crew was able to take advantage of a yellow flag just 30 laps from the finish to top off fuel, make minor wing adjustments and change tires.
The luck held and thanks to excellent race strategy and a lot of driving skill, the Schmidt/Treadway combination sailed across the finish line in ninth place. This finish bumped the team into the top 20 in points and promised a strong comeback for the rest of the season.
Sam Schmidt: "The team did an excellent job today. We had a great start followed by some setbacks and wound up OK. It was just like the whole race weekend was mirrored in the final event. We had a top five car and were pushing toward the front when the telemetry showed that we problem with the tire. It wasn't anyone's fault, but we did have to pit under green. We did have to dodge a few bullets as several accidents happened right in front of me. I am very glad to be in one piece! I am excited and looking forward to Charlotte. We tested well there and I like the bigger tracks."
Team spokesperson and driver consultant Arie Luyendyk successfully navigated his way through his first FOX Sports Net broadcast. "It was a lot of fun," he said. "I really enjoyed myself, and I hope the fans liked the end result."