Samuel Schmidt (born August 15, 1964) is a former Indy Racing League driver and current NTT IndyCar Series and Indy Lights series team owner. Schmidt's brief IndyCar career included a win in 1999, but an accident before the 2000 season left him a quadriplegic. Schmidt is currently co-owner of the Arrow McLaren SP IndyCar team.

Sam Schmidt
Sam Schmidt - Carb Day 2015 - Sarah Stierch.jpg
Schmidt in 2015
Born (1964-08-15) August 15, 1964 (age 57)
Lincoln, Nebraska
IndyCar Series
Years active1997–1999
Teams
Starts26
Wins1
Poles1
Best finish5th in 1999
Previous series
1995USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series

Racing careerEdit

After graduating from Pepperdine University, Schmidt became a successful businessman, eventually purchasing his father's parts company in 1989 at the age of 25.[citation needed] He raced at a competitive amateur level, supported by his business income, but dreamed of someday driving in the Indianapolis 500. Schmidt first drove professionally in 1995 in the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series at the age of 31, where he won Rookie of the Year honors.[citation needed]

 
Sam Schmidt with 2011 Indianapolis 500 pole winner Alex Tagliani, who drove for Schmidt's team

In 1997 Schmidt made his first Indy Racing League start and became a rising star in the league. He raced three consecutive years at the Indianapolis 500, and earned his first race victory, from pole position, at Las Vegas in 1999.[citation needed] He finished fifth in series points that year. During that offseason, while testing in preparation for the 2000 season, Schmidt crashed at Walt Disney World Speedway on January 6, 2000.[1] The accident rendered him a quadriplegic, and put him on a respirator for five months.[2]

After leaving the hospital, Schmidt, no longer able to drive a racecar, realized he needed to find a new passion and follow it. Inspired by meeting tetraplegic Formula One team owner Sir Frank Williams, he founded Sam Schmidt Motorsports, which has become the most successful team in the history of the Indy Lights series,[citation needed] winning the 2004 series championship with Thiago Medeiros, the 2006 title with Jay Howard, and the 2007 title with Alex Lloyd. Sam Schmidt Motorsports was a full-time IndyCar series team in 2001 and 2002, and continues to participate annually in the Indianapolis 500. In the Firestone Indy Lights series, as of August 2009 the team had posted 30 victories out of 100 starts.[citation needed]

After acquiring the FAZZT Race Team IndyCar team in 2011, Sam Schmidt Motorsports returned full-time to the IZOD IndyCar Series, and on May 21, 2011, driver Alex Tagliani won the pole position for the Indianapolis 500, the first pole for the team.[citation needed]

Career resultsEdit

Indy Racing LeagueEdit

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position)

Year Team Chassis No. Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Rank Points
1996–97 Blueprint Racing Dallara IR7 16 Oldsmobile Aurora V8 NHM LVS WDW PHX
10
INDY
34
TXS
23
PPI 27th 76
LP Racing 99 CLT
18
NH2
22
LV2
27
1998 LP Racing Dallara IR8 Oldsmobile Aurora V8 WDW
9
PHX
7
INDY
26
TXS
18
NHM
12
DOV
17
CLT
14
PPIR
13
ATL
15
TX2
27
LVS
2
14th 186
1999 Treadway Racing G-Force GF01C Oldsmobile Aurora V8 WDW
27
PHX
9
CLT
C1
INDY
30
TXS
3
PPI
2
ATL
22
DOV
5
PP2
5
LVS
1
TX2
22
5th 233
1 The 1999 VisionAire 500K at Charlotte was cancelled after 79 laps due to spectator fatalities.

OtherEdit

  • Schmidt won $16,350 on Press Your Luck over the course of three episodes between January 2–4, 1985.[3][4][5]
  • He established the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation to further the cause of paralysis research, treatment and quality-of-life issues.[citation needed]
  • He was helped by Arrow Electronics to drive again by creating a 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray that is controlled with head movement, voice commands, and by mouth sip/puff actions.[6][7]
  • Schmidt currently serves on the board of directors for BraunAbility, a leading manufacturer of wheelchair accessible vehicles and other mobility solutions.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Macur, Juliet (January 19, 2000). "Crash at Disney paralyzes IRL driver". The Orlando Sentinel. p. 19. Retrieved August 14, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. 
  2. ^ [1], Sam's story, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, may 21, 2014 (video)
  3. ^ Press Your Luck Episode 332 Cydney/Sam/Jill. YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-11.
  4. ^ Press Your Luck #333. YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-11.
  5. ^ Press Your Luck Episode 334 Sam/Rick/Esmeralda. YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-11.
  6. ^ Wesley Wren (26 September 2016). "Sam Schmidt will get the first semi-autonomous driver's license". Autoweek. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  7. ^ Weaver, Matt (13 May 2017). "Paralyzed Sam Schmidt set to race 77-year-old Mario Andretti at Indianapolis". Autoweek. Retrieved 19 May 2018.

External linksEdit