The deal with Schmidt will see the outfit’s staff, sponsors and driver being retained under its new ownership. Schmidt had already confirmed plans to run Jay Howard at the Indianapolis 500, as well as Wade Cunningham at three other oval events, and the appointments won’t be affected by this latest announcement.
The announcement is a major boost for Schmidt, who was himself an IndyCar competitor until he was paralysed in a testing accident in 2000. Schmidt moved on to set up an IndyCar team in 2001-2, before dropping back to team management in Indy Lights, leading several drivers to championship success.
“This is a fantastic time for me, my family and everyone at Sam Schmidt Motorsports,” Schmidt said when making this announcement.
“Though we competed in the IndyCar Series in 2001 and 2002, I can now admit we were naive in our understanding of what it took to be successful at the top level of open-wheel racing in the United States. Ten years later, I have a much better understanding of what it takes to go IndyCar racing.
“We have worked hard to accomplish what we have in the Firestone Indy Lights series and, most importantly, we have built a team around a group of great individuals. That, combined with the excellent talent base at FAZZT Racing, should create a powerful combination.
“This in no way will interrupt our plans to compete strongly for the Indy Lights championship, and we all look forward to the challenge of being equally as competitive in the IZOD IndyCar Series.”
[Original image via LAT]