SAM SCHMIDT MOTORSPORTS RESUMES ACTION THIS WEEKEND AND LOOKS TO DEFEND IOWA CROWN NEWTON, Iowa - Fresh off its win in the Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Sam Schmidt Motorsprots returns to action this weekend for the fifth race...
SAM SCHMIDT MOTORSPORTS RESUMES ACTION THIS WEEKEND AND LOOKS TO DEFEND IOWA CROWN
NEWTON, Iowa - Fresh off its win in the Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Sam Schmidt Motorsprots returns to action this weekend for the fifth race of the 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa.
Points leader J.K. Vernay looks to get back onto the top step of the podium. After winning the first two races of the Firestone Indy Lights season, circumstances out of Vernay's control have seemed to keep the series points leader off the top step of the podium. On pace to win pole on his final lap at Long Beach, a yellow flag came out during his lap that negated his run - a run good enough for pole but wasn't meant to be. Though he finished third, things would have been quite different had he started first. Then, in Indianapolis, a problem with the car at the start of the race put Vernay several laps down. The issues were sorted, allowing Vernay to get in some laps. Starting from the back of the field, he charged his way through the field to follow the leader for several laps. He's shown he can adapt to ovals, and thus, Vernay sets his goals this weekend to get back onto the podium - more importantly, on the top step.
Philip Major looks to continue his steady improvement race after race. A young driver that's quietly been making progress in his first Firestone Indy Lights season is Philip Major. After crashing out in the first race heading into the first corner, he's since put together a string of solid finishes. He went to Long Beach and earned a 10th, then bettered that at Barber Park where he finished seventh. Then, in his first oval race, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Major took his car and placed it sixth in the final standings. With the trend he's shown, and his quick learning on the oval, sneaking into the top-five, or even better, is not out of the question for the young Canadian driver this weekend.
Pippa Mann uses highs and lows from Indianapolis to motivate her for Iowa. Pippa Mann literally experienced the highest of highs and lowest of lows at the last event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Her excitement could hardly be contained when she became the first woman ever to win a pole position on the famed track. Expectations were high for her heading into the race. However, just a handful of laps in, she was a victim of a spinning car in front of her. With nowhere to go, the two tangled into the Turn 1 wall. Besides a sore back, the disappointment has been difficult to swallow. It's left her more determined than ever to post a solid result, and with the confidence she carries into this event based on her pole performance, Mann looks to have a competitive result with the Sam Schmidt Motorsports team.
Can Sam Schmidt Motorsports duplicate last year's 1-2-3 finish in Iowa? In the 2009 race at Iowa, Sam Schmidt Motorsports dominated the event leading nearly every lap and sweeping the top-three spots on the podium - a first for the team. Though the drivers are different in 2010, there's no reason why the performance can't be repeated with the points leader showing speed on the ovals, Pippa Mann coming off a history-making run in Indianapolis, and Philip Major making progress teasing the top-five. The task will be difficult, but it's not out of the question for this weekend.
#7 LUCAS OIL/CJ Motorsport/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver J.K. Vernay
"I'm really focused on this weekend. We can't have another race like we did in Indianapolis where we finished 13th. Everyone is really focused on the job and what we have to do. I'm pretty sure we're going to have a good car in Iowa like the team did last year. I'm quite confident in the car. It's a new track for me again, so I'll have to learn very quickly on the oval. I know it's a bit more bumpy than the last oval so I'll have to be a bit more careful at the beginning and take my time. I'll be ready to be fast when the time is right. Our goal is still to win. I think we have the potential to win races on ovals, and we showed in Indy we can be quick. We can't lose points in the championship. If we can't win, we want a podium to keep the points tight, but the goal always is to win."
#11 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver Pippa Mann
"Iowa was a pretty tough race for me last year, but this year I'm returning with a team that locked out the top-three positions there last year, so I'm really looking forward to going back. Going into the race weekend, my focus is the same as it was going into Indy. We'll be focusing on the race car primarily, and worrying about qualifying second. Coming off one pole, I'd obviously like to back it up with a second at a second consecutive event, and I think that's well within the bounds of possibility, but our main focus is, and will remain, the race. Hopefully, we'll be able to bring home the first podium of the 2010 season for the 11 car boys, and hopefully this time in the race, others around me will make smart decisions. There's a big result coming for this team, so I hope it decides to come this weekend."
#49 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver Philip Major
"I'm really looking forward to this weekend. I'm looking to build the experience that I gained in Indianapolis and improving on that on the short track. I'm very confident that the team is going to have a strong showing in Iowa. I'm just looking forward to racing on a track that's more than one groove. I'm excited about the side-by-side racing and can't wait to get going and bring home a solid finish for Sam Schmidt Motorsports."
Team Owner, Sam Schmidt
"Sam Schmidt Motorsports obviously loves the short tracks. We've been very successful and dominate at venues such as Phoenix, Nashville, and Milwaukee. So far, Iowa has been very good to the team. Last year's 1-2-3 result was our first and only for the team. Hopefully, we can do the same again this year."
-source: sam schmidt motorsports