IRL: Schroeder update 97-03-24

For more information: Linda Mansfield, E-mail: 75534.2635@CompuServe.com Schroeder Involved in Crash; Places 19th PHOENIX, March 24 - Jeret Schroeder was discharged from St. Joseph's Hospital here Monday around noon and an hour...

For more information: Linda Mansfield, E-mail: 75534.2635@CompuServe.com

Schroeder Involved in Crash; Places 19th

PHOENIX, March 24 - Jeret Schroeder was discharged from St. Joseph's Hospital here Monday around noon and an hour and a half later he was on an eastbound flight, headed home to Vineland, N.J. The popular 27-year-old driver spent Sunday night in the hospital after suffering a concussion and a bruised lower back in a crash during the Phoenix 200 Indy Racing League event Sunday afternoon at Phoenix Int'l Raceway.

The McCormack Motorsports G-Force Olds No. 30, which is sponsored by Purity Farms, Sunnyside Foods, Alfa Laval and Team Losi, suffered extensive left-side damage but the crew was already busy planning repairs Sunday night.

Schroeder was credited with a 19th place finish in the race, and he is currently 21st in the Indy Racing League point standings and fourth in the IRL rookie of the year standings.

He originally was slated to start 13th in the event, his second IRL race, but he actually started 12th when Buzz Calkins crashed in practice following time trials and had to start the race in his backup car at the rear of the field.

Schroeder was tenth when the trouble developed in turn one, right after he had completed his 51st lap. It was the fourth of nine caution periods in the 200-lap race.

Scott Goodyear blew a motor in front of him, and Schroeder said he was hit from behind by another driver. "I remember thinking I was going to hit the wall, but I don't remember the actual impact," Schroeder said. "It happened very fast. I had no idea Goodyear had blown an engine ahead of us. I remember being backwards and heading towards the wall, but I don't know exactly how I got there. I would love to see a videotape of the accident so I can see what actually happened and learn from it."

Besides Schroeder and Goodyear, Robbie Buhl, who was running right with Schroeder, was also involved.

"Goodyear blew his motor in front of me and a couple of cars spun in the oil," Buhl said of the crash. "I had slowed up and missed them and I got tagged in the rear."

"I didn't like that motor when we put it in; I didn't like that motor when we started; and I hate the thing now," said Goodyear.

Sam Schmidt, who ended up in the same hospital as Schroeder did due to a crash later in the race, said he was involved in the crash too, but he didn't think he had hit Schroeder. (The damage to Schmidt's car in that accident was slight and he was able to make it back to the pits with damage to his car's nose. He continued in the race before he crashed hard later in the event. At first it was feared that Schmidt had suffered a spinal fracture in the second incident, but he said that was not the case and as of Monday morning he was hoping to be discharged from the hospital soon too.)

Schroeder was disoriented at the accident scene and he said he thinks he may have been unconscious right after the crash, but he was awake and alert in the infield medical center and while being transported to the hospital.

By the time his X-rays and CAT scan were completed at St. Joseph's on Sunday, he said his headache was nearly gone; his sore back was bothering him more than his head; and he was already campaigning to be released. "I was just biding my time in the race," Schroeder said. "We had just made our first pit stop, which had gone really well. The car was running great; it was really comfortable at that point and I was starting to move up. I feel I had a car capable of finishing in the top five. The start had gone fine and so did the restarts. I just bided my time early in the race, trying to stay out of trouble and be there at the end. But I was feeling very comfortable and I was on my way to the front right before the accident happened. I feel bad for the McCormack Motorsports crew, because they really gave me a great car today. I know we would have been in the top 10, maybe in the top five and even maybe on the podium."

Jim Guthrie won the race over Tony Stewart, Davey Hamilton, Marco Greco and Stephan Gregoire.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Buzz Calkins , Robbie Buhl , Stephan Gregoire , Davey Hamilton , Jim Guthrie , Scott Goodyear , Jeret Schroeder , Sam Schmidt