IRL: Schmidt Motorsports - Lazier departure notes

August 16, 2001 Notes from the Shop Good Morning, This is a really hard report to write this morning. We received news yesterday afternoon that Jaques Lazier has signed for Team Menard, effective immediately. Everyone here at Sam Schmidt ...

August 16, 2001
Notes from the Shop

Good Morning,

This is a really hard report to write this morning. We received news yesterday afternoon that Jaques Lazier has signed for Team Menard, effective immediately.

Everyone here at Sam Schmidt Motorsports, certainly understands that Jaques has been waiting for a steady ride in the IRL for the past several years. The offer to drive for John Menard is a driver's dream and his contract will continue with John until 2002.

That being said, the happiness you want to feel for one does not displace the disappointed for the others. Sam, Larry and this team have been through a lot this season. Yet after ever crash, ever engine failure, dealing with things that are out of their control, they continue to put forth a winning attitude and effort. The guys here go to track to do one thing - race.

When Jaques didn't receive a trophy for their efforts at Nashville, the crew created a trophy for him out of the crashed car parts. This was a happy team. Everyone believed that we could get a race win before the end of the season. It was the feeling of success to come that makes Jaques' departure so hurtful.

Sam, who celebrated his 37th birthday yesterday, has released this statement to the national media:

"I think it's an awesome reflection on the quality and talent of our race team. We took a driver that wasn't even on John Menard's radar map and put him in a position to replace a championship driver. I am not pleased with John Menard and I am disappointed in Jaques. The Lazier family has always been known for keeping their word. You take a look at Buddy who has stuck with Hemelgarn all these years, even through the lean times and I thought that that's what we were building with Jaques. As for St. Louis, we will pick up the pieces again and go on!"

And go on we shall. For such a small team, we have certainly made a statement this season. Sam is learning a whole lot in a hurry about being a team owner and let's not forget, he is doing so in the midst of his recovery. Larry and the boys at the shop back here in Lebanon are pretty quiet this morning, mostly in disbelief. The phone is ringing off the hook with drivers who want the ride and as soon as we know something, I will pass the name along.

Congratulations and best wishes to Jaques at Team Menard.

- LeeAnne/SSM

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jaques Lazier  , Sam Schmidt