J.K. FINISHES THIRD AT IOWA SPEEDWAY FOR SAM SCHMIDT MOTORSPORTS; EXTENDS POINTS LEAD NEWTON, Iowa - It wasn't the sort of race that Sam Schmidt Motorsports was looking to have on Saturday evening at the Iowa Speedway, but having all three cars...
J.K. FINISHES THIRD AT IOWA SPEEDWAY FOR SAM SCHMIDT MOTORSPORTS; EXTENDS POINTS LEAD
NEWTON, Iowa - It wasn't the sort of race that Sam Schmidt Motorsports was looking to have on Saturday evening at the Iowa Speedway, but having all three cars finish on the lead lap, including J.K. Vernay being on the podium and extending his points lead, isn't something to complain about either.
The race was a fairly steady one with no official passes amongst the leaders. Where the drivers qualified ended up being close to where they'd end up finishing.
After a morning practice session, Vernay, Philip Major, and Pippa Mann qualified their cars in third, seventh, and eighth, respectively. Vernay would end the race in third, Major in sixth, and Mann in eighth after the race was completed.
Vernay, coming off of a disappointing 13th in Indianapolis, sought to get back onto the podium and score a good result for the championship. His third-place result accomplished that goal, and since his championship competitor in second, Charlie Kimball, finished at the rear of the field, it was a great points day for he and the team.
Mann also entered this weekend's event after a disappointing finish at Indianapolis that left her with a sore body and the team with a damaged race car. The team repaired the car, and Mann hung on to the end to finish in eighth-place. It ties her career best, and after finishing the Iowa race upside-down in 2009 and having a crashed car from her last event, a solid top-ten on the lead lap was just fine for the Brit.
Philip Major showed once again his quick progress in adapting to the Firestone Indy Lights cars on ovals. He drove a smart and steady race, and towards the end, turned the fastest lap of anyone the entire evening. His sixth-place result ties his best for the series rookie, and he looks forward to getting another opportunity to crack the top-five in the series upcoming events.
Sam Schmidt Motorsports will hit the track again with their Firestone Indy Lights competitors at the next round of the championship, the Corning 100 at the famed Watkins Glen International on the July 4th weekend.
#7 LUCAS OIL/CJ Motorsport/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver J.K. Vernay
"I have a lot to learn, but I feel it was a really good performance. Another podium is good for the championship. It was a good weekend, the car was great, and the team did a wonderful job. I have to be focused moving into the next race. A track like Watkins Glen can be difficult especially since I don't know the track. We won at St. Pete and Barber, and I am confident we could do it again."
#11 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver Pippa Mann
"I think after this morning, and last year's upside-down memories from here, added to a car which wasn't really where I wanted it for the race, I'll pretty happily take the eighth-place finish around here today. Coming in with Sam Schmidt's record here previously, it's obviously a bit disappointing, but for some reason today we just didn't quite have that extra magic we had at Indy. My back also survived the race much better than I had hoped it would. In 115 laps it only really started to get sore and cramp up from the previous injury over the last 20 laps or so. In just three weeks since I hit the wall at Indy, that's a rate of progress I'm pleased with. Fingers crossed I'll be back to 100% for Watkins Glen in two weeks. A big thanks to my crew for doing such a great job this weekend and leading up to it having to repair a damaged car from Indianapolis. I'm hoping to give them more positive results soon."
#49 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver Philip Major
"The race went fairly well. I had a pretty good start, but we had a quick caution, and I felt that Pippa passed me under yellow and kind of held me up for a few laps. After I got by her on the restart, I started adjusting my car and making some good changes. I started working my way back up through traffic, and then I think we finally ended up sixth. I think it's a positive result. We got the fastest lap of anyone in the whole race. So that was good. Basically, it was another big learning experience for me. It was totally different from Indy. I had to learn to adapt and adjust my car with the tools in the cockpit. I got the car really hooked up. We had the fastest lap which was good. Unfortunately, we were sixth again, not the top-five, but I think we'll be really strong on the remaining ovals this year."
Team Owner, Sam Schmidt
"Well, it's tough to be disappointed when all three cars roll back onto the truck in one piece. I'm happy for J.K. to extend his points lead. Being the highest rookie finisher and getting back on the podium was good for him. Philip drove a smart race and did a good job to tie his career best result. Turning in the race's fastest lap at the end showed he well he is adapting to this sort of racing. Pippa also rebounded nicely from her incident at Indy. I'm sure her body is a bit sore, but to come out of here with a finish on the lead lap was a good thing. We're looking forward to Watkins Glen and getting back into victory lane. Podiums and top-10s are nice, but we're all out here to win."