Pagenaud Joins Schmidt for 2012 IZOD IndyCar Season

For Immediate Release           

Contact Ron Green

True Speed Communication


Frenchman Brings Diverse Experience, Success to Sam Schmidt Motorsports



INDIANAPOLIS (Dec. 8, 2011) – Frenchman Simon Pagenaud will be the driver of the Sam Schmidt Motorsports (SSM) Honda-powered Dallara in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series, team owner Sam Schmidt announced today during a press conference in Indianapolis.


SSM team manager Rob Edwards and Pagenaud joined Schmidt at the press conference in the Indiana Convention Center during the International Motorsports Industry Show in downtown Indianapolis, just five miles from the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.


Pagenaud, 27, brings a wealth of experience driving several types of high-horsepower cars in his career. In 2011 alone, he was a factory Honda driver in the 12 Hours of Sebring and a factory Peugeot driver in the 24 Hours of Le Mans 24, finishing second in both events. In addition to the sports car racing he did, Pagenaud also raced V8 Supercars, Rally cars and had three IndyCar Series starts in 2011 filling in for injured drivers Ana Beatriz (Barber Motorsports Park), Justin Wilson (Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course) and Simona de Silvestro (Infineon Raceway).


“I am delighted to be joining the IZOD Indy Car Series full-time with Sam Schmidt Motorsports and Honda,” Pagenaud said. “The series represents the most competitive racing in the world right now, and I am really looking forward to the challenge of racing in a single-seater again. I have to thank Sam Schmidt Motorsports for giving me the opportunity and to continue with the Honda engineers at HPD. It is the best situation I could wish for.”


Like many racers, Pagenaud started his career racing karts near his home in Montmorillon, France. He moved steadily through karts and formula cars in Europe from 1994 to 2005. At the end of that run, he made the decision to steer his career path through the United States. In 2006, he made the move to Indianapolis and his career took off.


“America has been a lucky charm to me, really,” Pagenaud said. “The start of it was 2006, when I won the Champ Car Atlantic Championship with Walker Racing, which allowed me to enter the Champ Car Series in 2007.”


His rookie year in Champ Car was also his last as the series dissolved when Indy car racing was unified under the Indy Racing League banner. Pagenaud finished eighth in his rookie season. Though he was out of an Indy car seat, his stock quickly rose when he became a factory driver for Honda Performance Development.


Teaming with car owner Gil de Ferran in 2008 and 2009, Pagenaud won five American Le Mans Series LMP1 races, seven poles and several podium finishes. In 2010, he switched to the Highcroft Racing team and, with co-driver David Brabham, won the American Le Mans Series LMP1 championship with four wins and three poles.


“We are very fortunate to land a driver of Simon’s caliber for the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season,” Schmidt said. “As all the teams work to develop the new cars and engines, his diverse experience will be invaluable to us. Simon has a strong relationship with Honda and its engineers, which is also a huge asset. This is a big day for Sam Schmidt Motorsports.”


The 2012 season will be a reunion for Pagenaud and members of the SSM IndyCar team. Edwards, the team manager, held that same position with Walker Racing when that team won the 2006 Atlantic championship with Pagenaud. In addition to Edwards, several current SSM crew members worked with Pagenaud at Walker Racing as well.


“I am thrilled to be renewing my relationship with Simon after working together in 2006 when he won the Atlantic championship and then graduated to Champ Car in 2007,” Edwards said. “He has continued to develop since then and is clearly deserving of a full-time ride in the IZOD IndyCar Series. We are excited that he will have that opportunity with Sam Schmidt Motorsports in 2012 and look forward to a successful rookie season with him.”


The SSM IndyCar team begins its third season in 2012, though it will be only the second year of ownership by Schmidt. The successful Firestone Indy Lights team owner purchased the assets of FAZZT Race Team, with team manager Edwards, in the spring of 2011 to create his own IndyCar operation. Edwards had built FAZZT around a core of veteran crew members and engineers, and the experience paid off under Schmidt’s ownership. In only its second season, the team won the prestigious Indianapolis 500-Mile Race pole position in 2011. In addition, Schmidt’s Indy Lights team won its fifth series championship with driver Josef Newgarden and its 46th overall race win.


“I know 2012 will be a big challenge with the new Dallara chassis and being on a new team but, quite frankly, that is what is so interesting,” Pagenaud said. “To fulfill a lifelong dream to race an Indy car and to compete in the Indianapolis 500 is a special time in my life. I can't wait for the start of the season in St Petersburg. I also want to especially thank Sam Schmidt for giving me the opportunity to drive for his team and for my friends at HPD.”


Pagenaud’s car number and sponsorship package will be announced at a later date.


The 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season kicks off Sunday, March 25, with the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.


About Sam Schmidt Motorsports:

Sam Schmidt Motorsports (SSM) was established in 2001 and is owned by former driver Sam Schmidt, who was paralyzed (quad) in 2000 after a testing accident at Walt Disney World Speedway in Orlando, Fla. As a car owner, Schmidt fields cars in the IZOD IndyCar Series, including the Indianapolis 500, and the Firestone Indy Lights Championship. SSM is the most successful team in Indy Lights with 46 race wins and five championships.  In addition, SSM has qualified 12 cars in the Indianapolis 500 since 2001 and, in 2011, won the coveted Indy 500 pole with driver Alex Tagliani.





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Gresham Grabs Karting Crown - Weekly And Touring Series Champions Battle On Track

For Immediate Release



CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Dec. 8, 2011) – Max Gresham added another trophy to his mantle on Wednesday after winning the Fourth Annual NASCAR Touring & Weekly Series Champions/Media Karting Challenge as Champions Week got into full swing.

Gresham, the reigning NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion, started dead last in the 14-kart field and took the lead with just under two minutes remaining in the 15-minute contest at Charlotte’s Victory Lane Indoor Karting that pitted the seven NASCAR champions in town for the week against members of the local media.


“It was a lot of fun,” said Gresham, the 18-year-old out of Griffin, Ga. “It was cool to race against the champions from the other series and it was even more cool to beat them.”

George Brunnhoelzl III, champion of the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, finished second and was the race leader at a competition caution with five minutes remaining in the race.

“If we didn’t have that competition caution, then I might have been able to hold Gresham off because I had a bit of a lead,” said Brunnhoelzl. “After that, he was just too fast.”

The NASCAR Mexico Series presented by Toyota champion Germán Quiroga finished third after a spirited battle with Brunnhoelzl down the stretch.

After a one-hour practice session to get used to the karts and track, everyone got lined up for the main event. The championship race was a timed event. The seven fastest media members started up front, followed by the NASCAR champions, inverted from slowest to fastest based on their best times during practice.

The event is part of a weeklong series of special activities in the Charlotte area for drivers and track representatives leading up to the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards Banquet on Friday, Dec. 9, and the NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Awards Gala on Saturday, Dec. 10. Both ceremonies along with a Red Carpet pre-show will be streamed live on www.nascarhometracks.com in English, French and Spanish. Coverage will get underway at 5 p.m. ET each evening.

Among the champions Philip Morris, the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion finished fourth followed by Greg Pursley (NASCAR K&N Pro Series West), Ron Silk (NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour) and Scott Steckly (NASCAR Canadian Tire Series). Jeff Wackerlin of the Motor Racing Network finished fourth overall and was the top-finishing media member.

“Getting to the front wasn’t too bad,” Gresham said. “I was really concerned with getting around (Quiroga). He was hitting every line that he needed to, but I eventually got by.”

Gresham joins Brian Loftin (2009), Ryan Truex (2010) and Bobby Santos (2011) as winners of the Karting Challenge.

Later Wednesday evening, the series champions will be honored at a special dinner affair in The Great Hall within the NASCAR Hall of Fame complex.


For more information, contact:

Jason Christley, NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications


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Schmidt Wins International Motorsports Industry Show Achievement Award

For Immediate Release

Contact Joe Crowley with True Speed Communication


INDIANAPOLIS (Dec. 7, 2011) – Officials from the International Motorsports Industry Show (IMIS) announced Wednesday that Sam Schmidt, owner of Sam Schmidt Motorsports (SSM), is the recipient of the 2011 IMIS Achievement Award.


Schmidt was presented the award during the IMIS Welcome Reception at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Chip Ganassi, who won the first IMIS Achievement Award last year, presented Schmidt with the honor along with Randy Bernard, president of INDYCAR, and Chris Paulsen, one of the founders of IMIS.


“The International Motorsports Industry Show is for hardcore racers,” Paulsen said. “Sam is the definition of a hardcore racer. After his driving career ended unexpectedly, he became one of the most successful and respected team owners in INDYCAR. He’s given a lot of young drivers their first break into INDYCAR racing and his record in Firestone Indy Lights competition is unmatched. It’s an honor to present him with the second International Motorsports Industry Show Achievement Award.”


Schmidt, 47, who resides just outside of Las Vegas in Henderson, Nev., was a top-notch driving talent in IZOD IndyCar Series competition before being involved in a testing accident at Walt Disney World Speedway in Orlando, Fla., prior to the 2000 season that rendered him a quadriplegic.


He formed SSM in 2001 and, since then, has captured five Indy Lights championships (Thiago Medeiros, 2004; Jay Howard, 2006; Alex Lloyd, 2007; J.K. Vernay, 2010 and Josef Newgarden, 2011) and 46 race wins. For the past nine years, Schmidt has also fielded cars in the IndyCar Series’ premier race, the Indianapolis 500. This past May, SSM driver Alex Tagliani won the pole position for the Indy 500 while his teammate, Townsend Bell, qualified fourth.


Several drivers who have competed for SSM in Indy Lights competition have moved up to race in the IndyCar Series, including Lloyd, Ana Beatriz and James Hinchcliffe.


“This is a tremendous honor for me to win the International Motorsports Industry Show Achievement Award,” Schmidt said. “It’s very humbling and is really an award for all of our employees who work so hard to build championship-winning racecars. It meant a lot to me to have Chip and Randy there to present the award, as well. I just can’t thank everyone enough for this honor.”


The third annual IMIS, set to run Thursday through Saturday, is the United States’ premier hardcore racing trade show. Owned by Paulsen, owner of C&R Racing, Jeff Stoops, president of Stoops Freightliner, and three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart, IMIS has a lifetime contract with the City of Indianapolis and has reserved show dates through 2015. From car builders to tire manufacturers to parts suppliers, every form of motorsports is represented at IMIS. Attendees come from all levels of the sport. From NASCAR team owners to weekend road racers, IMIS attracts motorsports enthusiasts from around the globe.


For information about IMIS, go to www.imis-indy.com.





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