Toronto: Sam Schmidt Motorsports preview

SAM SCHMIDT MOTORSPORTS BEGINS TWO RACE SWING NORTH OF THE BORDER THIS WEEKEND TORONTO - The Canadian swing of the Firestone Indy Lights schedule begins this weekend, and Sam Schmidt Motorsports will start the run with four cars in this...


TORONTO - The Canadian swing of the Firestone Indy Lights schedule begins this weekend, and Sam Schmidt Motorsports will start the run with four cars in this weekend's race in Toronto.

Another new venue for J.K. Vernay, another strong result expected.

Though he's a rookie to Firestone Indy Lights, series points leader J.K. Vernay has shown that arriving to new circuits is just a small road block on his way to the podium. In every race but one, he has finished on the podium, including winning three of this year's first six races. His only non-podium result was at Indianapolis where he showed he could chase down and run with the leaders, but circumstances out of his control took him out of contention early. Coming off of his most satisfying victory of the season in the most recent round at Watkins Glen, he enters Toronto with a lot of confidence and determination to extend his points lead, and more importantly, get another victory under his belt.

Philip Major seeks best result of the year in his backyard.

Philip Major has set and tied his season-best result of sixth in the three recent rounds of the championship. His sixth-place results have all been solid performances on three completely different types of race tracks. He started the streak with his best finish ever in the series at Indianapolis, then followed that up with the same result at the shortest track in the series, Iowa Speedway. Then, most recently, he duplicated the result again on the challenging road course at Watkins Glen International. Now, in his backyard of Ontario, Major looks to move one step forward into the top-five, or even the podium, as he looks to put together a complete weekend by practicing well, qualifying well, and of course, racing well.

James Winslow looks to capitalize on season-best in recent round to move forward.

After showing he could drive a car like he stole it in his first four starts of the season, James Winslow is looking to have an easier weekend at this event. Having to drive from the back due to various reasons in his previous starts, he's shown that he could catch up, pass, and run with the leaders. This weekend, Winslow looks to have a "quiet" qualifying and to start higher up on the grid to make his task of running up front a bit easier. He improved nine positions in Watkins Glen to earn his first top-five of the year, but he's hoping to have to improve just a few positions in this weekend's race to earn a spot on the podium in Toronto.

Toronto a favorite of Pippa Mann who searches for a solid result this weekend.

Of all the street circuits on the Firestone Indy Lights schedule, Pippa Mann lists the downtown streets of Toronto as her favorite circuit to race on. She enters the weekend with a lot of confidence and motivation despite the frustration she's suffered through the most recent rounds of the championship. She tied her career-best finish earlier in the year at the city streets of Long Beach, and she knows that Sam Schmidt Motorsports had competitive cars at Toronto in last year's event. She looks to put the recent frustrations behind her and hopes to get her best result yet on a track she can't wait to tackle.

No. 7 LUCAS OIL/CJ Motorsport/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver J.K. Vernay

"Once again, as in every event, our goal is to win. Toronto is another track that I haven't raced on before, but I'm looking forward to the challenge of adapting to the circuit and running competitively. The team have done a great job for me all year, and I expect the same for this weekend as they expect in me. The weekend brings on a new set of challenges for us, but it's important that we focus on the same goal and continue to build on our lead in our overall focus of winning the championship"

No. 11 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver Pippa Mann

"Something that has been hindering us this year on road and street courses this year has been qualifying. I have been fast in the testing and the races, but finding the extra speed in qualifying has not come as easily as I would have hoped. The big focus for this weekend will be to try and improve the qualifying performance, and we aim to start working on that on the very first session out on track. The first half of 2010 has been incredibly frustrating. We have shown time and again that we have good pace in the number 11 car, but things just haven't worked out. Indianapolis was a perfect example of that. No one can argue with the potential. The results sheets, however, you can argue about all day. I just have to believe that if I keep doing as many things right as possible, and keep working hard, that things will start to turn around for us in the second half of the year, and we will start bringing home the results we deserve."

No. 49 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver Philip Major

"I'm really excited to race in Toronto this weekend. Being Canadian and having the chance to race in Toronto is always something special. At the same time, we just have to keep a level head and keep doing what we've been doing so we can have constant improvement and have a good result for the weekend. That'd be the best thing for all of us. It's great knowing that we're going to have lots of friends and family at the event to support us for this one event. I can't wait to get on track."

No. 77 FOCAL POINT/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver James Winslow

"The result in Watkins Glen was a great one for us, but it's now time to shift our focus onto our next challenge in Toronto. We've shown all year we can run quick and run amongst the leaders on pace. We just need to have a good qualifying performance to give ourselves a break heading into the race. I'm confident in the team and the car that they'll prepare for me, and I'm looking to have a fun, but hopefully less dramatic, weekend in Toronto."

Team Owner, Sam Schmidt
"Besides being a beautiful city in itself, Toronto is a great venue for our series to visit. We had a decent weekend in our first visit to the event last year with a car on the podium, but the expectation this year is to get a victory and hopefully have multiple cars on the podium. Each driver on our team has their own motivation heading into this weekend's event to seek their best results of the year, and there's no reason why they shouldn't be able to achieve their individual goals and give Sam Schmidt Motorsports great results when the event concludes."

-source: ssm

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Sam Schmidt , Pippa Mann , Phillip Major , James Winslow