Ganassi and Schmidt announce joint Lights deal Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) and Sam Schmidt Motorsports (SSM) announced today a partnership to campaign 2007 Firestone Indy Lights Champion Alex Lloyd in the 93rd running of the Indianapolis 500 in the No. 99 Honda Dallara. The CGR development driver made his IndyCar Series debut in 2008 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, qualifying 19th and finishing 25th, and holds the distinction of being the only driver to win on both the speedway’s road course (Indy Lights, 2006) and oval (Indy Lights, 2007) layouts.
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In Good Company: The SSM/CGR partnership provides Lloyd an excellent opportunity in the Indianapolis 500, as CGR is scheduled to field entries for the past two Indianapolis 500 winners Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti, respectively. The No. 99 entry will be run out of the SSM stable for the month of May, with the Indianapolis-based team working closely with CGR to ensure that Lloyd – who is under a developmental contract with CGR – receives the benefit of working with engineers and mechanics from both teams.
Familiar Territory: In 2007, the 24-year-old Manchester, England native teamed with Sam Schmidt Motorsports for its most successful season ever. The two combined to win eight races, five poles, and five additional podium finishes in the 16-race championship en route to a record-breaking Firestone Indy Lights title.
Reunited: Lloyd will work with engineers Tim Neff (SSM) and Andy Brown (CGR) on the race program. Previously, Lloyd and Neff won eight Indy Lights races together in 2007, and Brown partnered with Lloyd on his Indianapolis 500 program in 2008. Furthermore, Neff and Brown previously worked together on the open wheel program at Pac West Racing.
Sam Schmidt: Owner, Sam Schmidt Motorsports
"Alex is a great highlight in our team's history and remains the benchmark for drivers we evaluate today. He is a perfect example of what Firestone Indy Lights is trying to create in the stars of tomorrow. To have the opportunity to team up with him again, on such a big stage, is fantastic, and we're all very excited. Teaming with Chip Ganassi Racing, a team boasting the last two Indy 500 winners, gives us our best shot yet at drinking the milk come race day in Indianapolis. This is a tremendous opportunity for our team and our business partners."
Chip Ganassi: Owner, Chip Ganassi Racing
“The opportunity with Sam and his team is perfect for us. I’ve said many times before that Alex will be one of the future stars of the IndyCar Series, and for the second straight year we are able to provide him what I believe is an excellent opportunity for the month of May.”
Alex Lloyd: Driver, No. 99 Honda Dallara
“There’s just something about Indy that is so very special, and I got my first taste of that last season. You want to go there to watch a race, you want to go there to race, you want to go there to win. I am looking forward to being able to build on what I learned last year. I think this will be a great opportunity and I plan on making the most of it.”