P2R's Sam Schmidt - an Amazing Story

32 days ago by Pole Position Raceway

Schmidt is a former Indy Racing League driver with 27 career starts and one victory which took place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 1999.

He is the most successful Indy Lights team owner in history, as well as current co-owner of a burgeoning Verizon IndyCar Series team - which happens to be the defending Indianapolis 500 pole sitter. He continues to overcome the obstacles of paralysis, is noted as an icon in the racing world and as always, Sam Schmidt continues seeking out new challenges.

Schmidt is a former Indy Racing League driver with 27 career starts and one victory which took place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 1999. The following year, on January 6, 2000, the Lincoln, Nebraska native crashed during a practice lap at Walt Disney World Speedway in Orlando, Florida, severely injuring his spinal cord, rendering him a quadriplegic.

Fast forward to 2013, Schmidt and new partner Arrow Electronics introduced the SAM Project, short for Semi-Autonomous Motorcar, which provides incredible technologies that allows the driver to control the vehicle’s direction with slight head movements and a sip-and-puff mechanism in the mouth for acceleration and braking. The goal for the new project? Find a way to put Schmidt, a quadriplegic, back behind the wheel of a car and create technologies for people with disabilities to grant them more independence in their daily lives.

Seventeen years ago, Sam was told he would never be able to move his arms or legs again, never mind be able to drive a vehicle on track and race against some of the best drivers in the world. Arrow Electronics was determined to help Sam do just that.

After four years of testing, finding improvements and marking accomplishments off their list, Sam and Arrow set their eyes on the next challenge: racing the legendary Mario Andretti in the SAM cars at the one-of-a-kind Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

On May 13, 2017, before Schmidt and Andretti settled in to witness the INDYCAR Grand Prix, the two legends raced inches apart on the 2.439-mile permanent road course hitting speeds of 150 mph (and above). Schmidt relayed, “It was the most normal I’ve felt in 17 years.”

With a race against Andretti under his belt, there’s no telling what challenge Sam will set his eyes on next.