Schmidt Picks Up J. Lazier

Now that Jaques Lazier’s three-race run with TeamXtreme has run its course, the younger brother of defending Indy Racing Northern Light Series champion Buddy Lazier has a new ride with Sam Schmidt Motorsports.

Schmidt announced Wednesday afternoon that Jaques Lazier would drive his No. 99 Dallara-Aurora at this weekend’s SunTrust Indy Challenge at Richmond International Raceway. Lazier replaces Richie Hearn, who was filling in for the injured Davey Hamilton.

"I am enormously excited about the opportunity," said Lazier, who is 24th in the points standings after starting just three races this season. "The team has demonstrated with the assistance of Davey (Hamilton) and Richie (Hearn) that with the exception of some bad luck, they have what it takes to run up front.

"I already know several of the guys on the team and I’m looking forward to renewing those relationships and building new ones in a pursuit of giving Sam his first top-five finish and ultimately the win."

Schmidt’s team finished a season-high ninth at Pikes Peak on June 17 with Hearn behind the wheel. Although it was the best finish for Schmidt as an owner, he wanted a more experienced driver.

"The team was excited about a Top 10 finish at Pikes Peak and I want to thank Richie for his fantastic efforts at the race," Schmidt said. "He did everything we asked of him and is certainly a talent in the seat. It has always been my position that I want the most experience available, given the budget limitations for our team this season.

"That being said, I am very pleased to have Jaques join us for Richmond. He is one of the rising stars of the Indy Racing League and with the right opportunity, I think everyone in the garage area agrees that it’s just a matter of time before he follows in his brother’s footsteps and wins races."

Lazier’s IRNLS career includes eight Top 10 finishes, five races led for a total of 46 laps and more than $1 million in earnings.

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