He's no Penske

Posted by Iannucci | 5/31/2007 | 0 comments »
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As you may have read, Alex Lloyd and Sam Schmidt Motorsports will try to achieve an unprecedented five victories in a row this weekend in Milwaukee. Read that agian - five Indy Pro races and five trips to Victory Lane, folks. Currently Lloyd holds the record for consecutive series wins at four along with Thiago Medeiros, who first set the record in 2004.

Oh by the way, Medeiros was also driving for Schmidt.

It’s this level of success in the IPS that has folks referring to Sam Schmidt as the “Penske of Indy Pro”, but in reality Schmidt’s run the last few years is better than anything Roger Penske has going. Take a look at what Schmidt’s drivers – a different one each year – have done in his IPS entries.

2007 (Alex Lloyd): 4 races, 1 pole, 4 wins, 4 Top 5s
2006 (Jay Howard): 12 races, 2 poles, 2 wins, 8 Top 5s
2005 (Jaime Camara): 14 races, 3 poles, 2 wins, 5 Top 10s
2004 (Thiago Medeiros): 12 races, 8 poles, 6 wins, 9 Top 5s
42 races
14 poles
14 wins (33.3%)
26 Top 5s (61.9%)

Friends, his cars have won one out of every three races! Forget Roger Penske, that’s almost a Michael Schumacher level of domination. But for discussion purposes let’s still see how the Penske drivers – who have done pretty darn well themselves – stack up since 2004.

Helio Castroneves:
52 races
16 poles
(30.8 %)
7 wins (13.5%)
26 Top 5s (50%)

Sam Hornish Jr:
52 races
7 poles
7 wins (13.5%)
27 Top 5s (51.9%)

Now bear in mind those original numbers only include Schmidt’s best driver each year. His roster of drivers over this time period also includes quality drivers like Jonathan Klein (2nd in points behind Howard last year) and Christ Festa (currently 3rd in points driving for Ganassi) in other entries. Still, the amazing thing is that even with ICS ownerships like Ganassi, Panther, Andretti and Rahal joining forces with other Indy Pro teams, Schmidt seems to be enjoying his finest season to date.

Unfortunately, the downside of all this winning is that ICS teams have decied the winning is mostly due to the car and not the driver. None of Lloyd’s predecessors has raced a single IndyCar Series race, and unless Schmidt himself returns to the premier series it’s possible none of them ever will. Heck, poor Jamie Camara is about to set his own record this weekend – for consecutive IPS starts.

At any rate, it looks like Lloyd has a pretty good shot to bag his fifth straight win. Stay tuned.