Treadway Racing and Sam Schmidt Celebrate Qualifying Results in Charlotte Charlotte, NC: While the weather has been a strong factor in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League Charlotte weekend, the wind and cold temperatures didn't deter the Treadway...
Treadway Racing and Sam Schmidt Celebrate Qualifying Results in Charlotte
Charlotte, NC: While the weather has been a strong factor in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League Charlotte weekend, the wind and cold temperatures didn't deter the Treadway team as pilot Sam Schmidt negotiated his way around the 1.5 mile oval at the Lowes Motor Speedway to a swift 4th place qualifying run. His run places him on the outside of row two for the start of the VisionAire 500 tomorrow evening.
As the weekend began, weather conditions in the Charlotte area took a steep turn for the worse as rain and cold temperatures moved in and caused initial practice to be cancelled. The same conditions applied to today's schedule and most of the afternoon was spent waiting for the track to dry and the temperatures to come up enough to allow the Indy cars time to shake down their set-ups before qualifications.
Just when the paddock was convinced that it was going to be another rainout, the safety crews announced that the track was dry, and the IRL teams were in business. After releasing a quick modified schedule, the teams braved the 24-mph winds to run a quick session to set up for qualifying.
The crew of the #99 Sprint PCS entry was already comfortable with their strategy, as they had already logged several hundred testing miles at the Charlotte track earlier this year. Sam Schmidt was comfortable with the track layout and convinced that the team had what it took to make the top of the field.
His convictions proved correct as the red #99 car headed out on the track 19th in the qualifying order. As the temperatures had only reached 58 degrees, the IRL mandated four warm-up laps, with two hot laps under green to maintain driver safety. Schmidt quickly came up to speed, and landed comfortably in the show with a time of 24.502, just two tenths of a second off of the pace of the pole setter, and a speed of 220.390 mph. This is his highest qualifying effort of his career to date.
Sam Schmidt: "The outside is really a good place to start for me. This is the highest I have ever started, both personally and with the team, so I guess I'll take it! Surprisingly, the weather just didn't seem to be too much of a factor for me today. We tried to keep the car on the white line all the way around to keep it a fast run. We are very close to our race day set-up, so we will only have to change a few things for Saturday's race. We have made it a safe car, so it is pretty easy to drive right now. It will give us a lot of confidence to start close to the front."
Saturday's race will be broadcast live on SpeedVision with pre-race show beginning at 7:30 p.m. (EDT) and the telecast starting at 8:00 p.m. (EDT). Treadway Racing driver coach and team spokesperson Arie Luyendyk will make his second appearance in the broadcast booth to assist with race coverage. The team consists of Dave Calabro, Jack Arute and Arie Luyendyk in the booth, featuring Vince Welch and Calvin Fish in the pits.