The Sam Schmidt Motorsports gang is coming off of a great test in St. Louis and is really looking forward to a competitive outing in Kentucky. On the first of August, Jaques and the boys spent some quality time together picking up speed at...
The Sam Schmidt Motorsports gang is coming off of a great test in St. Louis and is really looking forward to a competitive outing in Kentucky.
On the first of August, Jaques and the boys spent some quality time together picking up speed at Gateway International Raceway. With the Ilmor installed, they got going fairly well the first morning and the second was even better. Comparatively speaking with respect to the rest of the field that tested, Larry didn't really want to say. But the smile on his face and the bounce in the crew's step is a great sign of what could be in St. Louis. Gateway will be much like Richmond in that it's not a horsepower track, it's a driver's track. Richmond was only our first outing together, so you can only imagine just how far this team can go.
Last year at Kentucky, Jaques and Sam Hornish, Jr. ran side-by side in the lead for nine laps. It was the race the put both of their names on the map. This year, they are both back with stronger rides and more experience under their belts. To make it even more interesting, Hornish is trying to maintain his Championship points lead over Jaques' older brother Buddy. If I had to guess, I would say that the Lazier brothers might be keeping Sam awake at night.
If the Lazier brothers aren't enough to worry about, this past week, Hornish and Calkins both had trouble in Kentucky spinning and crashing. The problem is in the track. Over the winter the Kentucky Speedway seems to have settled a great deal. The settling combined with the antics of winter weather has created some severe bumps in the track. The track officials have done some extensive grinding on the track and applied new sealer. In addition, the league has changed the rear wing regulation from 12 degrees to the normal 6, giving the car more downforce and slowing the speeds several tenths of a second. This is similar to what we ran in Nashville. We won't know for sure until practice on Friday about the true condition of the track for the race.
I think Sam has expressed the teams' outlook for the rest of the season best, "True success in life is not so much measured by what happens to me as much as its measured by how I handle what happens to me." In that spirit, we head to Kentucky with high optimism.
The Belterra Resort Indy 300 will air Live on ABC Sports at 1:30 Eastern time. As always, live timing and scoring is available at indyracing.com.