SAM SCHMIDT'S J.K. VERNAY SCORES SEVENTH PODIUM IN EIGHTH START OF YEAR IN EDMONTON EDMONTON - J.K. Vernay earned a second-place finish after starting in second in Sunday's Edmonton 100 on the 1.973-mile City Centre Airport Circuit, giving the...
SAM SCHMIDT'S J.K. VERNAY SCORES SEVENTH PODIUM IN EIGHTH START OF YEAR IN EDMONTON
EDMONTON - J.K. Vernay earned a second-place finish after starting in second in Sunday's Edmonton 100 on the 1.973-mile City Centre Airport Circuit, giving the driver his seventh podium of the season in eight starts in his rookie Firestone Indy Lights campaign.
He maintains a 55 point lead over James Hinchcliffe in the championship. Hinchcliffe won Sunday's race.
Like Vernay, the other Sam Schmidt teammates followed home where they started with Philip Major in 10th and Pippa Mann in 11th.
When the race started, Vernay stayed right behind Hinchcliffe, and through the rest of the race, the two pulled away from the field. Vernay did what he could to try and get by, but he never had quite the opportunity to make a pass work. Still, the second-place result was a good one for Vernay as it gained him the maximum amount of points possible, without winning or leading the most laps, for his title chase.
Philip Major and Pippa Mann fought their respective struggles, but getting to the checkered flag was an accomplishment for each. Major spent the entire weekend learning the circuit, and by the time the race started, the damage was done with regards to track position. He and Mann both were expecting to capitalize on attrition to move up, but it never materialized.
It was especially impressive for Mann to finish given the pain she had to endure driving with a broken left hand. She was barely able to complete 10 lap runs all weekend, and yet when it counted in the race, she brought the car home and took the checkered. She is scheduled to undergo surgery in Indianapolis on Monday to repair her broken hand.
All three drivers look to better their finishes in Edmonton at the next round on the race calendar, which will be at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on the weekend of August 8th.
No. 7 LUCAS OIL/CJ Motorsport/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver J.K. Vernay
"It was a great race with James. He drove a great race. He made no mistakes. There was never a chance for me to get by. From the start, I was behind him. I really tried to push hard and to over-take him, but he didn't give me a real chance. Canada was good for me. One victory and one second-place. We have to continue like that for the next race and try to push hard and to work with my engineer. But it was great. And just yesterday, I mean, qualifying is really important. In Toronto, I was in front by half a tenth, and here, I'm behind half a tenth. So, it's racing. We hope to come back stronger in the next race and get back to winning."
No. 11 LOBLAWS/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver Pippa Mann
"Driving 50 laps around this place with a broken hand made it the toughest race I have ever driven. In testing, the most laps I could put on my hand in a row was about 10. I was always going to need some help from attrition to move forward, and unfortunately for me, I just didn't get it. However, holding station from qualifying and just making it to the checkered flag feels like quite an achievement in the circumstances. I had great fun over the past two weeks doing the appearances at Zehrs and the Real Canadian Superstore, and showing everyone around my car at both tracks on race day. Unfortunately, the injury has made bringing the number 11 Loblaw car home where I would like extremely difficult, but I have really enjoyed the tie-up over the past couple of weeks. I'm heading back to Indianapolis on a flight tonight, and I'm booked in for surgery on my hand tomorrow. Hopefully that will go well, and I'll start to heal and be in a stronger position at our next round. "
No. 49 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver Philip Major
"It was an all right day today. We were basically doing damage control today because on qualifying day we couldn't find the pace we needed to run up front. We just tried to earn as many points as we could. We finished basically where we started. It was a very physical race but a very fun track to drive. It was a good learning experience for me in familiarizing myself with the track and knowing what I need to do to be faster for next year."
Team Owner, Sam Schmidt
"Another podium for J.K. is impressive. It was another new track for him, and he's shown yet again that he's a quick learner and a great natural talent. He almost pulled off another win here today. I'm sure he's disappointed, but second isn't too much to be disappointed about. It's just a shame that the guy who beat us took away some points from J.K. in the championship. I know it was a difficult day for both Pippa and Philip, but they both showed a lot of maturity in the race to pull through and finish. Pippa especially, with her broken hand, I couldn't even imagine. We'll get things loaded up and try for another win at the next one."