Schmidt aims to keep Hinchcliffe and Aleshin for 2017

Sam Schmidt says retaining James Hinchcliffe and Mikhail Aleshin at Schmidt Peterson Motorsport next year will be important for team progress.

Schmidt aims to keep Hinchcliffe and Aleshin for 2017
Sam Schmidt
Mikhail Aleshin, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
James Hinchcliffe, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
Mikhail Aleshin, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
Mikhail Aleshin, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
James Hinchcliffe, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
James Hinchcliffe, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
James Hinchcliffe, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda with Sam Schmidt

Hinchcliffe currently lies seventh in the championship, after two podium finishes and pole for the Indy 500. And while Aleshin is only 16th, he has been a hostage of misfortune for much of the season, and might have beaten the Penske cars to victory at Mid-Ohio, if not for a pitlane collision.

Schmidt told Motorsport.com: “Absolutely, the plan is to keep them both. We’ve been searching for a couple of years for continuity and consistency, in staffing and in driver lineups.

“Finally we’ve achieved that and got to a place where we feel we’re working well as a team. So while there’s no need to change, it’s the goal to keep things as they are and keep improving.”

Commenting on the Mid-Ohio pitlane incident that saw Aleshin sent out of his pitbox into the side of Josef Newgarden’s Ed Carpenter Racing car, Schmidt said the irony was in the team being too quick.

“Our guys have been, practicing, practicing, practicing between races,” said Schmidt, “especially because track position is so important at tracks like that. And so they were too good! Half a second slower, and that incident would never have happened. That’s the irony in all that.”  

Hopes for Urrutia

Although SPM’s Santiago Urrutia is leading the Indy Lights championship, Schmidt says the opportunities to run him in IndyCar next year are dependent on sponsorship.

He said: “Santi is pretty focused and determined. We’d definitely love to run him in Mazda’s three-race scholarship program if he wins the championship.

“Beyond that, any other opportunities, I don’t know. That’s a bridge we’d have to cross, and it would be good to have that ‘problem’ as it were, by winning the title.

“Looking at the talent that’s out there in Indy Lights, I think we expected Santi’s campaign to be a two-year gig, but he’s definitely proven to be very strong in his first year. So we’ll see.” 

Paralysis fundraising 

Next Saturday and Sunday at IndyCar’s Pocono Raceway event, Conquer Paralysis Now (CPN) is offering an opportunity to individuals and corporations to meet-and-greets with Sam Schmidt, James Hinchcliffe and Mikhail Aleshin and to watch the race from the track’s skybox.

Conquer Paralysis Now and the CPN Challenge were launched by Schmidt to find a cure for paralysis by driving the development of treatments for spinal cord injuries to help patients regain such every day functions as standing, reaching and grasping, and bowel and bladder control. The CPN Challenge program plans to award nearly $20m in grants and prizes over the next decade.

Go to ConquerParalysisNow.org for updates and information on reserving seats for the Pocono race, and for more details on CPN’s work.

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