IPS: Mid-Ohio: Sam Schmidt adds Munter for final oval events

SMART MOVE: MÃœNTER WILL MAKE INDY PRO SERIES DEBUT AUGUST 11 AT KENTUCKY SPEEDWAY WITH CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM SAM SCHMIDT MOTORSPORTS AND SMART PAPERS INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Leilani Munter and Sam Schmidt Motorsports announced today that Munter...

SMART MOVE: MÜNTER WILL MAKE INDY PRO SERIES DEBUT AUGUST 11 AT KENTUCKY SPEEDWAY WITH CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM SAM SCHMIDT MOTORSPORTS AND SMART PAPERS

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Leilani Munter and Sam Schmidt Motorsports announced today that Munter will make her greatly anticipated Indy Pro Series debut at the Kentucky Speedway on August 11th.

Munter will race at Kentucky and in the season finale at the Chicagoland Speedway on September 9th.

Lead sponsorship comes from SMART Papers, a premium brand in the graphic communications industry and North America's largest independent manufacturer and marketer of premium coated and uncoated printing papers.

Sam Schmidt Motorsports drivers have won two of the past three driver championships, dominating the points in both 2004 and 2006.

"Racing in the Indy Pro Series is a big step in my career," said Munter, "I am deeply appreciative to Sam Schmidt for giving me the chance to drive for a championship team and to SMART Papers for becoming my primary sponsor in the series."

"Leilani represents the new generation of women who are fast moving into professional open wheel racing," said SMART Papers chairman Tim Needham. "She is a talented racer and a smart competitor. She's also environmentally smart and a smart businesswoman. SMART Papers is delighted to sponsor Leilani's first two races in the Indy Pro Series--we believe she has a smart, winning future."

Current leader of the 2007 championship, Sam Schmidt Motorsports is one of the most successful and powerful teams in the Indy Pro Series. During the 2006 season their three drivers finished 1st, 2nd, and 6th in points. In total, the team holds 28 pole positions and 21 race wins.

"We are very pleased to add Leilani to our team for the Kentucky and Chicagoland events in 2007," said Schmidt. "Leilani has honed her skills and gained sufficient confidence to be competitive in the Indy Pro Series immediately. In addition, I believe Alex Lloyd, Ryan Justice and Logan Gomez will be excellent teammates due to their success and experience so far this year."

About Leilani Munter

Leilani Munter began racing stock cars in 2001 and has been working her way up the NASCAR ladder since. In 39 starts, she has nine top-five and 19 top-10 finishes. She set the record at Texas Motor Speedway in 2006 when she finished fourth, the highest finish for a female stock car driver in the history of the 1.5-mile speedway. She tested at Daytona International Speedway in December 2006 and earned her license to run in the ARCA series, a feeder division into NASCAR's big leagues.

Munter joined the world of open-wheel racing this year. She earned her Indy Pro Series license at Kentucky Speedway in May. "I was very impressed with how quickly Leilani got up to speed and with the feedback she gave the team," said Indy Pro Series technical director Butch Meyer. "She will be a very tough competitor in the Indy Pro Series."

Recently, Sports Illustrated named her in the top 10 female race car drivers of 2007. Her racing accomplishments have landed her in the pages of ESPN Magazine, Men's Journal, and Esquire Magazine. Konica Minolta was Munter's primary sponsor last year in the NASCAR Elite division and she currently stars in Interstate Bakeries' national ad campaign as a Hostess Race Diva alongside IndyCar driver Danica Patrick.

Leilani graduated from the University of California San Diego with a degree in biology, but left that and a career in Hollywood--which included working as a stunt driver and photo double for Catherine Zeta-Jones-- to move to Charlotte, NC to pursue her racing career. Leilani is well known for being active in environmental and conservation causes and hosts an Earth Watch section and blog on her website leilanimunter.com.

About SMART Papers

Hamilton, Ohio-based SMART Papers is North America's largest independent manufacturer and marketer of premium coated and uncoated printing papers. SMART Papers is a leading brand in the graphic communications industry and produces environmentally responsible papers. Customers include some of the world's biggest and best-known corporations that use SMART Papers products to communicate with customers, investors and other stakeholders. The company's papers feature up to 100 percent post-consumer waste content, which helps ensure responsible use of forest resources. For more information please visit smartpapers.com.

About Sam Schmidt Motorsports

Sam Schmidt Motorsports is one of the most successful and powerful teams in the Indy Pro Series. They won the championship in dominant fashion in 2004 and in 2006 their three drivers finished 1st, 2nd, and 6th in points. In total, the team holds 28 pole positions and 21 race wins.

About the Indy Pro Series

The Indy Pro Series is the premier ladder series for drivers and teams striving to compete in the IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500. Primarily run in conjunction with the IndyCar Series, the Indy Pro Series' 16-race schedule features seven races on ovals and nine races on road courses/street circuits, including both circuits at the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Teams compete for almost $4 million in prize money in cars that are second in speed only to the IndyCar Series at most tracks they visit. The complete Indy Pro Series schedule is telecast on ESPN 2 and available through live Webcasts. Recent graduates of this fast and cost-effective series include Marco Andretti, Ed Carpenter and Jeff Simmons. For more information on the Indy Pro Series, please visit www.indycar.com/pro.

Munter will sign autographs with her SMART Papers race car at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. Aug. 25-26. Both races will be televised on ESPN2 tape delayed. The Kentucky race airs Aug. 16 at 5:30 p.m. (EDT), and the Chicagoland race airs Sept. 13 at 5 p.m. (EDT).

-credit: ssm

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Sam Schmidt , Marco Andretti , Jeff Simmons , Alex Lloyd , Logan Gomez , Leilani Munter , Ed Carpenter