"Disheartening" Finish for Schmidt and Treadway Racing in Atlanta Atlanta, GA: The Sprint PCS crew on the Treadway Racing team looked on in shock Saturday night as their hopes for victory were dashed in late race collision with Buddy Lazier...
"Disheartening" Finish for Schmidt and Treadway Racing in Atlanta
Atlanta, GA: The Sprint PCS crew on the Treadway Racing team looked on in shock Saturday night as their hopes for victory were dashed in late race collision with Buddy Lazier for the lead of the Kobalt Mechanics Tools 500 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. The team was fresh off of two back-to-back podium finishes as well as having the best starting position of Sam Schmidt's IRL career, before the two drivers made contact on the backstretch to end their evening against the retaining wall on lap 114.
Schmidt, a Henderson, NV resident, ran an inspiring race as he lost the race lead on his first pit stop due to a power loss, only to charge from the back of the pack to take back his lead in only 51 laps. The performance of the #99 Sprint PCS/G-Force/Aurora/Firestone was incredible as Schmidt was able to overtake the field with heart-pounding excitement. It was the car's incredible performance that led the team to faintly mimic their result at this year's Indianapolis 500.
"I'm just not really sure what happened out there," Schmidt admitted. "I have spoken with Buddy about it and neither of us are really sure how it happened. I will have to watch the replay to determine if there is any blame-but it just seems like a racing accident to me. We were catching up on Buzz Calkins so quickly that we were going to have to split him-or do something! It is so disappointing and disheartening to end the race that way. It felt a lot like Indy because the car was so bitchin'. It was simply amazing to drive and I was having so much fun out there. The race was ours and I feel so bad for my crew and the sponsors. We'll just have to try again at Dover."
Schmidt ultimately finished 22nd, which dropped him down to 12th position in the points battle for the Pep Boys Indy Racing League Season Championship. The next stop on the IRL trail is Dover Delaware for the Mid-Atlantic 200 on August 1, 1999.