IRL: Sam Schmidt's new Indy Racing team to debut at Phoenix

PHOENIX, Friday, Feb. 9, 2001 - Former Indy Racing event winner Sam Schmidt announced Feb. 9 that he will return to the Indy Racing Northern Light Series as owner of Sam Schmidt Motorsports. The new team will field one ...

PHOENIX, Friday, Feb. 9, 2001 - Former Indy Racing event winner Sam Schmidt announced Feb. 9 that he will return to the Indy Racing Northern Light Series as owner of Sam Schmidt Motorsports. The new team will field one Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone car for the entire 2001 season, starting at the season-opening Pennzoil Copper World Indy 200 on March 18 at Phoenix International Raceway, Schmidt said. The car will carry No. 99, Schmidt's number for most of his Indy Racing driving career. A driver and primary sponsor will be announced shortly, Schmidt said. Schmidt, from Las Vegas, was emerging as an Indy Racing star after winning at Las Vegas in September 1999 for Treadway Racing. But he was paralyzed from the shoulders down in a testing accident in January 2000 at Walt Disney World Speedway. "The idea really came when I met with Frank Williams at the F1 race in September," Schmidt said of legendary Formula One owner Williams, paralyzed in the 1980s in a traffic accident. "I got a little fired up. I got a little inspiration then. "Nothing motivates me like this to be a part of the Northern Light Series and be a part of the Indy 500. I can't explain how difficult it was to be there in May (2000) and not be a part of it as a driver or owner." Schmidt and Larry Nash of LP Racing will reunite through the new team. Schmidt drove for Nash and LP in the 1996-97 and 1998 Indy Racing seasons. LP Racing will handle the technical aspects of the team from its shop in Lebanon, Ind., while Schmidt will coordinate the management and marketing activities of the team from his home in Las Vegas, where he participates in 35 hours of physical therapy per week. Schmidt also is busy in Las Vegas overseeing the Sam Schmidt Foundation, which raises awareness and funds for spinal-cord research. "Fifty percent of the reason I'm sitting here is my burning desire to win the Indy 500," Schmidt said. "I couldn't do it as a driver. Now I have to do it as an owner. "The other 50 percent is because I'm selfish. I want to walk again. The way I'm going to walk again is to raise a lot of money. The bottom line is it takes research, money and people. "I want to make it perfectly clear in no way is the (Sam Schmidt Foundation) funding this race team. We want to go the other way with it. We want to create awareness for spinal-cord injuries." BG Products, Inc. of Wichita, Kan., will continue its long-standing relationship with Schmidt as an associate sponsor. BG Products produces top-of-the-line lubricants, including engine oil, gearbox oil, fuel additives, and engine and transmission flushes.

-IRNLS-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Sam Schmidt , Frank Williams
Teams Williams