SAM SCHMIDT MOTORSPORTS
Carbone, Guerrieri, Daly and Newgarden Ready for 2011 Firestone Indy Lights Season
INDIANAPOLIS (March 24, 2011) – If the oddsmakers in Las Vegas were to pick a favorite team to win the 2011 Firestone Indy Lights championship, they’d easily pick the hometown favorite – Sam Schmidt Motorsports (SSM).
Owner Sam Schmidt, a resident of the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson, Nev., also has to like his odds this year, as he’s loaded the deck.
Already the most successful team owner in Indy Lights history with four championships and 37 victories, Schmidt will unload four cars at each race on this year’s Indy Lights schedule, beginning with Sunday’s season opener on the Streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. Each one of those cars will be driven by a proven winner and champion – Brazil’s Victor Carbone, Indiana’s Conor Daly, Argentina’s Esteban Guerrieri and Tennessee’s Josef Newgarden. While they’re all rookies in the series, they are, by no means, short on experience.
In 2010, Daly blazed to the Star Mazda Championship title by earning more race wins (seven), poles (nine), podiums (12) and laps led than anyone in the series’ 23-year history, which allowed him to claim a record point margin (79) over his nearest pursuer. Daly also won the 2008 Skip Barber National Championship, where Newgarden was runner-up. In that same year, Newgarden became the first American to ever win the prestigious International Formula Ford Festival in Great Britain.
Both Carbone and Guerrieri are familiar with victory lane as well. At age 18, Carbone is coming off a six-win and six-pole season that allowed him to capture the 2010 USF2000 National Championship crown. Guerrieri is also coming off a six-win campaign in the World Series by Renault in Europe.
You can keep shuffling the deck, but Sam Schmidt is sitting on four aces in 2011. And if you wish to see his hand, just head south on I-75 and then take I-275 to St. Petersburg, where SSM plans to have another lights-out year in Indy Lights.
Victor Carbone, Driver of the No. 3 Nevoni/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Entry:
What are your thoughts on racing in the United States, and how is the team is helping you get acclimated to the Indy Lights car?
“I’m happy to be here. We are getting there, slowly, and I’m sure we’ll get there at some point during the season. The biggest thing is that we are progressing and we are headed in the right direction. This is a wonderful organization in every respect.”
Esteban Guerrieri, Driver of the No.7 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Entry:
What is your comfort level heading into your first Indy Lights race?
“It’s been quite good, actually. These cars are nice. They are good fun. Obviously, with new tires, it improves the grip like it does on any other car. I like it. It’s good to find the limit. Going the limit is nice in any racing car. And this team is very professional. I feel very comfortable here.”
Josef Newgarden, Driver of the No. 11 Robo-Pong/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Entry:
As you climb the open-wheel ladder, what does it mean to drive for Sam Schmidt?
“This is great for me. To be involved in this type of organization, what Sam Schmidt has done with his race team over the years, is just incredible. He’s a very remarkable guy, and it’s great to drive for him. I’m really enjoying the opportunity and I just want to make the most of it this year. It’s not very often that people have an opportunity like this, so it’s definitely great from my perspective and I’m definitely looking forward to having a strong season with these guys.”
Conor Daly, Driver of the No. 77 Robo-Pong/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Entry:
Indy Lights is a big jump for you. How are you adjusting? And do you feel any pressure knowing your teammates are going to be fast every session?
“There’s just a lot for me to learn about this Indy Lights car, but I think I’m making progress. For me, personally, it’s just about working with the car and improving myself. It’s good to have quick teammates. We’ve got the data and I’ve got a lot to learn from. As a team, we will all do really well just because we can benefit by learning from each other. So, for me, I’m really happy to be where I am. The whole Sam Schmidt Motorsports team is working really hard and they know what they’re doing. They’re pros at doing what they do and I’m extremely happy to be where I am.”