WADE CUNNINGAM WINS SWEEPS THE WEEKEND FOR SAM SCHMIDT MOTORSPORTS WITH INDY WIN INDIANAPOLIS -- It was both an exciting yet scary Friday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as two Sam Schmidt Motorsports drivers ended their race in the medical...
WADE CUNNINGAM WINS SWEEPS THE WEEKEND FOR SAM SCHMIDT MOTORSPORTS WITH INDY WIN
INDIANAPOLIS -- It was both an exciting yet scary Friday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as two Sam Schmidt Motorsports drivers ended their race in the medical center while Wade Cunningham went on to become the first driver ever to win two Freedom 100 events at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The 40-lap event during "Carb Day" festivities for the Indianapolis 500 provided a lot of action throughout the field, and though yellow flags plagued the race, the end was still an exciting one for all to watch.
Wade Cunningham wins in exciting fashion.
With less than 10 laps to go, five drivers were at the front dueling it out for the lead, including Wade Cunningham. With just two laps to go, Cunningham was positioned to break away from the pack with the leader. As Cunningham exited Turn Four to see the white flag, he was all alone up front and hung on until the end to win his second Freedom 100. This marks Sam Schmidt Motorsports fourth win in the Freedom 100 and first victory for 2009. For Cunningham, the win was especially exciting given the venue, and more importantly, after the slow start to his season. He now sits fifth in the points leaving Indy, just 23 points out of the lead.
Beatriz and Yacaman collide while dueling in Indy's Turn One.
On a different note, two Sam Schmidt Motorsports cars, those of Ana Beatriz and Gustavo Yacaman, raced very hard amongst themselves just after the 1/3 mark in the race, and unfortunately, they raced a bit too closely as they collected each other at the exit of Turn One. Yacaman escaped injury, and Beatriz also avoided serious injury, though she did need stitches for a laceration on her chin.
Engine woes end Hinchcliffe's day early.
James Hinchcliffe, who was highly anticipating his first race on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval, had a disappointing end to his afternoon as problems with the engine took him out of contention early. He had the ability to pick positions up on opponents when they fell out of the race, but at race speeds, he had no opportunity to stay with the pack and race with his competitors.
Efforts shift back to Indianapolis 500.
With two trophies on the shelf for winning the pole and the race in the Freedom 100, Sam Schmidt Motorsports now turns its focus onto the biggest prize of all this month -- victory in the Indianapolis 500. The race can be seen live on ABC in HD on Sunday at noon EDT. #99 HER Energy CGR/SSM Driver Alex "Pink" Lloyd will start in 11th position.
#7 HINCHTOWN.com/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver James Hinchcliffe
Started Friday's race from 12th position; finished 16th.
Leaves Indianapolis sixth in points.
"Yeah, it was really a tough day at the office. I don't think the disappointment's any greater here at Indy than it would be at any other race track. I mean, I just hate not finishing races. It's tough, you know, the ovals were really what I needed to work the hardest on this year being new to them. I had to start from the back in Kansas and got to race basically half the race before my wing got knocked off. I didn't get a single (good) lap here. So, of 100 race laps on ovals, I've done about 20 so far. So, it's a little frustrating in that regard. And the fact that it's Indy and our biggest race of the year just is sort of icing on the cake. It sort of adds salt to the wound. For us, it's obviously a tough, frustrating day. But, we saw how quick the cars can be. Congratulations to Wade and the Lucas Oil crew because that was an awesome race and a great result for them. We'll just try to put all behind us. I mean, luckily, we don't have to wait long before the next race because we've got Milwaukee in seven days time. So, I'm already thinking about The Mile."
#11 LUCAS OIL/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver Wade Cunningham
Started Friday's race from pole position; finished first.
Leaves Indianapolis fifth in points.
"This is a very big race, especially for Sam Schmidt and the Sam Schmidt Motorsports team. When you get into the Lucas Oil car, there's a lot of pressure to perform. Probably not as much pressure as I put on myself, but it is there. So questions are asked when you're done. We had a very, very rough start to the season at St. Pete, a track that I haven't done well in the past, and I got second and a host of other problems, and then Long Beach, so we were sitting 18th in points. I'm sure Sam was wondering why he put me in the car. We got to Kansas, and that was the start of the turnaround, and we got pole there. We got beat fair and square in the race; we weren't quick enough. I was in the team shop talking with the manager and the engineer, and we worked very hard between Kansas and now to improve our package. I think it's shown because not only were we the quickest in qualifying and outright speed, but I think today we were the quickest car on the track because I look at the amount of time it took other people to pass the leader, and when I had the opportunity and I was planning to do it, I felt like I was able to make those passes easier than other people were. So I think we've got a very, very strong race pace now that we didn't have in Kansas."
#20 HEALTHY CHOICE/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver Ana Beatriz
Started Friday's race from fourth position; finished 17th.
Leaves Indianapolis 11th in points.
"I don't know what happened. I had some understeer. I know that I had contact as soon as I got too close. I went to the inside of turn one and crashed really bad into the wall. I'm not sure what happened. The Healthy Choice/Sam Schmidt crew will have to work very hard in the next few days to get ready for Milwaukee, but I'm looking forward to getting there and moving on from this incident."
#44 CREPES & WAFFLES/TUVACOL/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver Gustavo Yacaman
Started Friday's race from 13th position; finished 18th.
Leaves Indianapolis 13th in points.
"Well, I mean, the crew had done just an amazing job; my engineers, my mechanics. They put this awesome car together. I started 13th and I was just very, very fast, you know, working my way through the traffic. The car just handled very good. Coming up to Bia, I got on Bia on the outside to Turn One. I was already passed her on the outside. I saw that she was quite high. I gave her plenty of space. I was right at the wall and she just didn't lift and clipped me. And that's basically it. The car was moving, but I mean, my car was handling very, very good. I was impressed with how good it was handling, especially through traffic. I still had a lot of adjustments to do. I mean, I was very happy with my car. It's a shame our race ended this way, especially with my teammate."
Team Owner, Sam Schmidt Motorsports, Sam Schmidt
"I feel sorry about the other three, but Wade did a hell of a job. Timing was perfect and this was worth it all. His experience showed through in the draft. That's what it was all about. He was playing with them all day long just waiting for that last lap. We as a team set out to come here and win the pole and the race, and Wade did it in the Lucas Oil car. This is our most important race of the year, and I'm glad we're walking away with the hardware."