Edmonton: Sam Schmidt Motorsports preview

SAM SCHMIDT MOTORSPORTS HEADS NORTH TO CANADA FOR SECOND RACE IN THREE WEEK SPAN EDMONTON, Alberta, Canada -- Round 10 of the 2009 Firestone Indy Lights season brings Sam Schmidt Motorsports to a new venue, the Rexall Speedway at Edmonton's City...


EDMONTON, Alberta, Canada -- Round 10 of the 2009 Firestone Indy Lights season brings Sam Schmidt Motorsports to a new venue, the Rexall Speedway at Edmonton's City Centre Airport. Practice begins on Friday with a one-hour session at 11:30 a.m. Qualifying follows at 3:30 p.m. A warm-up will kick things off on Saturday at 10 a.m., and the race itself is at 4 p.m. All session times are listed in EDT and can be viewed live via indycar.com.

The television broadcast of the Firestone Indy Lights Grand Prix of Edmonton airs on Monday, July 27, at 4 p.m. EDT on VERSUS.

Previewing Edmonton City Centre Airport Raceway.
The Rexall Speedway, a 1.96-mile circuit made up of runways on Edmonton's City Centre Airport, is a new track to Firestone Indy Lights and Sam Schmidt Motorsports for 2009. The 14-turn circuit is one of the fastest non-ovals and arguably one of the toughest circuits drivers will encounter this year. The layout features several high-speed corners and quick changes in direction. The high g-loads will be the hardest test on driver fitness, and the lack of visual cues and markers presented by the airport runways will challenge drivers mentally in learning the circuit.

Canada native, James Hinchcliffe, seeks higher step on podium.
Torontonian James Hinchcliffe enters this weekend fresh off a third-place finish on his hometown circuit in the last round. The result was the fourth time in 2009 he finished third. Entering this weekend, he says "No more." One of his greatest strengths for this round will be his previous knowledge of the circuit as he's raced here in prior years in Champ Car Atlantic, including in 2008 during a double-header weekend when he won the pole in race one and finished both races -- not surprisingly -- third. As one of only four drivers having previous experience on this course, he looks to parlay that advantage into a top finish this weekend.

Beatriz, Cunningham, and Yacaman have short time to master new circuit.
As much of an advantage that their teammate Hinchcliffe has, Ana Beatriz, Wade Cunningham, and Gustavo Yacaman all enter this track having never raced here before. To make things more difficult, there will only be a single one-hour practice before the teams will have to grid for qualifying. If history is any indication, however, all three drivers have proven themselves to be quick learners. Wade Cunningham enters as a former series champion and race winner in 2009. Beatriz, the first woman to win in Firestone Indy Lights, also enjoyed victory earlier in the season. Lastly, Yacaman, the youngest driver in the field at 18, has shown throughout the year he's a quick study to the new cars and tracks and looks to hit the asphalt running come Friday morning.

#7 HINCHTOWN.com/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver James Hinchcliffe
"Basically the biggest challenge will be learning how this car responds to the track. I have raced here before, but I have learned from Long Beach and Toronto that the Firestone Indy Lights car responds different and I sometimes have to un-learn what I know. The key to success will be getting up to speed quickly. We only have one session before qualifying so rolling off the trailer with a good car and maximizing that session will be crucial. It is for sure the most physically challenging track. I've done double header weekends here and by the end of race two, you're thinking 'Alright, that's about all I had in me. This is a good time to stop!' You prepare in the same fashion, you just have to up the strength part a little bit, especially on the neck as this track has lots of fast corners. My goals this weekend are just to reduce the points gap to the cars ahead of me. Obviously, the easiest way to do that is to win! But we just need a good solid points finish and maybe with some bad luck for others, like we have had in a few races, we can make some gains in the championship.

#11 LUCAS OIL/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver Wade Cunningham
"With such a short amount of time before qualifying, we have to complete every lap of the first practice and hopefully we can roll out of the trailer with a close car and gear package. It also looks like there are many fast corners that lead onto one another so having confidence in the car will be important. As far as conditioning, we have had a lot of events leading up to this race so there has not been anything that we can do specifically for this event. We have been in the car a lot these past couple of months so that is the best conditioning. Entering this weekend, we know we have to start taking points away from AGR if we hope to continue to fight for the championship so that is our primary focus this weekend. We have to improve and roll out of the trailer more competitive than we did at Toronto if we want to beat them.

#20 HEALTHY CHOICE/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver Ana Beatriz
"I think the challenge will be getting up to speed quickly on such a fast track. We will only have an hour of practice before qualifying so it will be very important to use all the time we've got in the Healthy Choice/Sam Schmidt car. We hope to run strong and get as many points as possible. This looks like it will be the most physically demanding track on the schedule, but I've been doing the same hard training as usual so I shouldn't have any problems. If anything, I've worked a bit more on my neck muscles, but I should be fine otherwise. Thanks to my team for getting everything ready. We're looking forward to a great weekend. "

#44 CREPES & WAFFLES/TUVACOL/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver Gustavo Yacaman
"In our last race, we had a decent weekend. I'm hoping to continue that this weekend. We don't have much time to practice so it will be important for us to be quick from the get-go. I have a lot of faith in my car and crew so we shouldn't have any problems being competitive this weekend."

Team Owner, Sam Schmidt
"I've never been to Edmonton, but it looks fun and fast. Hopefully James will have an advantage having been there before. Clearly, Wade's shot at the championship will be won or lost on the remaining road courses. James has been consistent and is due for a victory. Bia has nothing to lose and thus, should be going for it. Gusty should make a bid for the top-five this weekend. It's going to be an exciting round."

-credit: ssm

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Sam Schmidt , Wade Cunningham , James Hinchcliffe , Ana Beatriz , Gustavo Yacaman