Simon Pagenaud isn’t tired of hearing it. He sees it as a compliment. He says it’s proof that the Schmidt-Hamilton Motorsports team is doing all the right things.
‘You guys are going to win soon!’
That is the phrase that Pagenaud and SHM team members are hearing frequently as the IZOD IndyCar Series heads to Edmonton, Alberta for the Edmonton Indy event Sunday, July 22. It’s a phrase they are hearing more and more every day.
“With good execution, we certainly feel a trip to victory lane is possible,” Pagenaud said. “However, we all know how racing is and how unpredictable it can be! This year is especially unpredictable with so many tremendous drivers and teams.”
Winning organizations do as much as they can to put themselves in situations that minimize the ‘unpredictable’ things from happening. That’s exactly what Sam Schmidt and Sam Schmidt Motorsports (SSM) General Manager Rob Edwards have been doing for the past year with the SSM IndyCar program.
The following are some of the key dominos that have fallen in place due to the effort of Schmidt and Edwards over the past year:
• created a car-owner partnership with Davey Hamilton
• secured their desired engine manufacturer – Honda – early in 2011
• pursued and landed their desired driver – ALMS champion Simon Pagenaud
• landed technology giant HP as the primary sponsor of the No. 77 Indy car
• retained its strong associate sponsor partnership with Bowers & Wilkins
• constructed a strong engineering team led by Ben Bretzman and Nick Snyder
Schmidt will tell you that all these dominos fell into place without jeopardizing the success of his SSM Indy Lights teams. That is evidenced by the fact SSM drivers are sitting first and second in the Firestone Indy Lights championship and lead nearly every statistical category in 2012.
Performance results also reinforce the general belief in the IndyCar paddock and among fans that Pagenaud will win soon in the No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports car.
The SHM crew has had the Honda-powered HP car running at the end of all 10 races so far in 2012, and Pagenaud has completed all but two of the 1,398 laps of competition. He has led 49 laps and has two podium finishes. And as a rookie, Pagenaud sits seventh in the championship just 37 points behind second place.
One more important domino just fell in place this past week that has Pagenaud, from France, especially excited about living and racing in the United States.
“I’m very happy to say my dog Domino, who is still in France, just passed the tests to get his passport,” Pagenaud said. “He will be joining me soon here in the states!”
Could man’s-best-friend be the last ‘domino’ needed to fall into place for a Simon Pagenaud victory?
Driver: Simon Pagenaud (7th)
Hometown: Montmorillon, France
Car: No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Dallara/Honda/Firestone
Event: Edmonton Indy at the Edmonton City Centre Airport
Date: Sunday, July 22, 2012
Series: Round 11 of 15 in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series
SIMON PAGENAUD (Montmorillon, France)
Though it was in a Champ Car in 2007, you have experience in Edmonton in an Indy car. How will that help you going into this weekend? “In 2007, the track was quite a bit different! I had a good time there in ’06 when I won my first race in America driving in Atlantics.”
Talk about Edmonton’s airport circuit…“The new track seems really good for racing! It is wide and has long straights creating lots of opportunities for passing.”
How does it make you feel when so many people say ‘you are going to win real soon’ including fans and racing insiders? “It makes me feel good and happy for the team as well! SHM and Honda have been very supportive and having fans behind us is a great testament to their work! Personally, my goal is to bring my best hand to the table every time.”
You left Toronto and went straight back to France for two weeks. What did you do while home? “I have had a tough time lately on the personal side. I have been going back to France to support my family. But it’s always important to remain positive, and I’m always looking at the bright side! I am eager to get back in my office, the cockpit of the No. 77 HP car, which is my reliever.”
Racing is so much a part of your life. Did you do any driving or racing while at home? “I enjoyed some sideways moments in France driving my rally car on a dirt track. It’s always fun to get to work on it!”
SSM Edmonton Notes
*The Honda Indy Toronto will be Simon Pagenaud’s 28th start in a major open-wheel race. He has 13 IZOD IndyCar starts and 14 Champ Car races under his belt.
*Pagenaud has raced in the Edmonton Indy one other time. He finished fourth in the 2007 Champ Car-sanctioned race after starting seventh. Many of the crewmembers on that team now work for the No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP organization.
*A second-place spot on the podium in Long Beach is Pagenaud’s best finish of the season. He also finished on the podium (3rd) in Detroit.
*So far in 2012, there have been 1,398 laps of competition. Pagenaud has completed all but two. He and the HP team have completed 1,396 laps to date, which is the most of all IZOD Indy Car Series drivers this year.
*Pagenaud and Ed Carpenter are the only two IZOD IndyCar Series drivers who have been running at the finish of all 10 IZOD IndyCar Series race in 2012. Pagenaud also leads the Sunoco Racing Fuels Rookie of the Year standings.
*Entering the Edmonton Indy, Pagenaud has six Top-10 finishes, including four Top-5 finishes.
*With the 23 laps he led in Toronto, Pagenaud has led in two races for a total of 49 laps.
*Pagenaud enters the Honda Indy Toronto seventh in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship. However, he is only 37 points out of second place. The top six in points are Ryan Hunter-Reay (335), Will Power (301), Helio Castrioneves (289), Scott Dixon (281), James Hinchcliffe (268), Tony Kanaan (267) and Pagenaud (264).
*Honda trails Chevrolet by just 12 points (81-69) in the 2012 Manufacturers Championship. Lotus is third with 40 points.
*The Edmonton Indy will be the 70th time a Sam Schmidt-owned car has lined up on an IZOD IndyCar Series grid. Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports co-owner Davey Hamilton was in the cockpit of the No. 99 car when SSM made its first race in March 2001 at Phoenix International Raceway.
Social Media Information
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The Edmonton Indy, a 75-lap race around the 13-turn, 2.224-mile Edmonton City Centre Airport circuit, will air live on NBC Sports Network Sunday, July 22 at 2 p.m. ET. The race will also be live on the IMS Radio Network and on XM 94/Sirius 212.