Racer Jay Howard and team boss Sam Schmidt will attempt to recreate the magic that led them to the 2006 Indy Pro title when they team up to enter the Indianapolis 500 this May.
Schmidt, whose Indianapolis-based team is the most successful in the history of IndyCar’s support series, regularly steps up a level to enter a car in the Indy 500.
His 2009 entry was Britain’s Alex Lloyd – like Howard, a former Indy Pro champion with the team – while last year he entered California’s Townsend Bell. For this season’s centenary race Bell should return and Howard will also run as a second Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry.
Howard said: “With the success we had as a team in 2006, I can’t wait until May gets here. SSM puts together a great race car and I like my chances for racing in this historic Indianapolis 500. I definitely have some unfinished business at Indy.”
Last year Howard, driving for Sarah Fisher’s team, lost his place in the race during a hectic bump day that saw him first safely in the field of 33, then out of it and resigned to watching from the sidelines. He lost his previous shot at taking part, with Roth Racing in 2008, when the team dropped him for the race in favour of the veteran John Andretti.
Schmidt hopes he’ll be able to make it third time lucky for Howard after the heartbreak of last year.
He said: “I remember watching that final hour of qualifying from our garage in Gasoline Alley last year. I felt sorry for Jay, knowing him personally and how bad he wanted it, but that is part of the drama of Indy.
“This year, it is our goal to provide the best possible equipment and personnel to allow Jay to show his true potential to everyone.”