FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: NHRA Communications (626) 914-4761 HOMETOWN VICTORY WOULD SALVAGE PRO STOCK SEASON FOR SCHMIDT CLERMONT, Ind. -- It's safe to say that Steve Schmidt's season went up in smoke, literally and...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: NHRA Communications (626) 914-4761
HOMETOWN VICTORY WOULD SALVAGE PRO STOCK SEASON FOR SCHMIDT
CLERMONT, Ind. -- It's safe to say that Steve Schmidt's season went up in smoke, literally and figuratively, on the morning of May 15. NHRA Pro Stock driver Schmidt, from Indianapolis, was in New Jersey preparing for a race when his business of 20 years, Schmidt Automotive, burned to the ground in an accidental fire. Schmidt and his staff wasted no time to regroup, as equipment was moved to adjacent buildings to keep the business running. A new, expanded automotive shop and a 23,000 square-foot race engine facility should be finished by early September. But the time requirements of rebuilding a business have crimped Schmidt's racing effort in the Dynagear Pontiac Firebird. He has no final-round appearances after making three finals in 1996. "I used to spend 100 percent of my time working on race engines and with customers," Schmidt said. "Now I'm spending 40 percent of the time with contractors and employees, trying to put this business back together. "But we're not giving up. We still want to win a few races." No victory would be more significant for Schmidt than the 43rd annual, $2,458,000 U.S. Nationals, Aug. 27-Sept. 1 at Indianapolis Raceway Park. The race is the 16th event in the 22-event, $30-million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series in 1997. Schmidt's race team appears to be recovering just in time to become a real contender for victory at the U.S. Nationals. He has won at least one round at the last five NHRA national events, appearing in two semifinals, and is fifth in the NHRA Winston point standings. "I think winning Indy would make our whole season," Schmidt said. "Indy has a special meaning for us, being my hometown. No matter what, that would make our year."