IRL: Hearn to drive for Schmidt Racing

FOUNTAIN, Colo., Friday, June 15, 2001 - Richie Hearn will drive the Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry in the Radisson Indy 200 on June 17 at Pikes Peak International Raceway, substituting for the injured Davey Hamilton. Hamilton ...

FOUNTAIN, Colo., Friday, June 15, 2001 - Richie Hearn will drive the Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry in the Radisson Indy 200 on June 17 at Pikes Peak International Raceway, substituting for the injured Davey Hamilton.

Hamilton suffered serious injuries to his legs and feet in a crash during the Casino Magic 500 on June 9 at Texas Motor Speedway. He remains hospitalized at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis under the care of Dr. Kevin Scheid and a team of orthopedic surgeons.

Hearn, from Las Vegas, will drive the No. 99 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Racing Special Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone at Pikes Peak. MBNA Pole Qualifying is June 16, with the 200-mile race on the 1-mile oval June 17. "This is certainly not the way you want to get a ride, but I am appreciative of the opportunity," Hearn said. "I've worked with crew chief Mark Killgo before and have known both (team manager) Larry Nash and engineer Tim Neff, as well, so it's a good group of guys. "It's going to be a busy two days. We could all use some solid results, so I'm looking forward to it."

Hearn, 30, has made six Indy Racing League starts during his career, with five coming in 1996. He won the Indy Racing event in Las Vegas in September 1996 while driving for Della Penna Motorsports. He also won the pole that year at the Indy Racing event in New Hampshire.

His last Indy Racing start came in May 2000, when he finished 27th in the Indianapolis 500 while driving for Pagan Racing. Hearn competed in CART from 1997-99.

"This is the hard part about being a team owner," Sam Schmidt said. "My concern and focus has been and will continue to be on Davey's recovery. However, we also need to continue to honor the commitments we have made to our sponsors and to the Sam Schmidt Foundation.

"I have asked Richie to drive the car because he has done a ton of testing on ovals, and with the two-day schedule we needed as much experience as possible. Besides that, Richie is very motivated to do well. He genuinely wants a career in the Indy Racing League and needs the chance to prove himself. Richie already has a pole and a win in the Indy Racing League, and there are not many who can say that."

The Sam Schmidt Motorsports car will carry a special message for Hamilton this weekend on its sidepods.

-Schmidt

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Davey Hamilton , Richie Hearn , Sam Schmidt