Tuesday, March 23, 2010

IndyCar Garage talks with Sam Schmidt

IndyCar Garage Weekly will have the privilege of talking to former IndyCar driver and current Firestone Indy Lights team owner, Sam Schmidt. Sam will be a guest on IndyCar Garage Weekly tomorrow at 6:30 EST. IndyCarGarage.com had the chance to ask Sam a few questions prior to his appearance on IndyCar Garage Weekly. (Sam pictured above with four time Indy 500 champ, Rick Mears)
1. The Firestone Indy Lights 2010 season kicks off this coming weekend and your team includes three new drivers that didn’t drive for you in 2009. How’s the transition went from your 2009 lineup to your revamped 2010 lineup?

We’re actually up to 4 now for St. Pete, adding James Winslow from the UK today. I feel we will have a strong line up for 2010 and a good mix of experience. The schedule emphasizes road courses, so all four drivers have that background.

2. Sam Schmidt Motorsports has been a front runner in Indy Lights since their inception in 2001, how does your team and program continue to have success year in and year out?

The correct people behind the scenes. I haven’t turned a wrench in 10 years, so the mechanics and engineers deserve all the credit.

3. Several of your drivers have graduated into the IZOD IndyCar series in full or part-time rides. What does it mean to see the likes of Jay Howard, Alex Lloyd, Richard Antinucci, and Ana Beatriz competing this year?

That is what we are here for. The full trophy cases are nice to look at and we love the Championships, but at the end of the day, our success is measured by drivers graduating to the IZOD series.

4. You’ve teamed up with Chip Ganassi to enter a 2010 Indy 500 entry for Townsend Bell in the Herbalife sponsored machine. Talk about what it means to participate in the Indy 500 every year and is there any chance Pippa Mann becomes possibly the sixth female at Indy this year?

We should be really strong this year with that combination. Townsend finished fourth last year with a part time effort, so our expectations are high with a full boat program. I know Pippa would like to be in the ICS in 2011, so we are starting that process now.

5. We plan to talk more about this on IndyCar Garage Weekly on Wednesday, but tell us a little about the planning and organizing the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg 5K Walk, Run ‘N Wheel-a-thon.

Again…it’s all about good people. Ida Cahill and Cindy Norton of SSPF have teamed with the Challenged Athlete Foundation, Shoot for a Cure and the great people at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg to create our largest Walk yet, which should have at least 1,500 folks walking, running and wheeling around the St. Pete circuit. Should be a blast!

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