Schmidt Goes With Lazzaro
December 19, 2001 | 11:30 P.M. EST
Lazzaro has signed a multiyear contract to drive the No. 99 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Special, the team announced Wednesday.
Lazzaro drove the No. 99 Dallara-Aurora to a pair of DNFs at Gateway International Raceway and the season-ending Chevy 500 at Texas Motor Speedway last season.
“This is just another step in a very long term plan to move Sam Schmidt Motorsports into victory circle – consistently,” said Schmidt, an IRL driver himself before a horrific accident prior to the 2000 season left him paralyzed. “Anthony is a great driver who still carries a daily passion for the pursuit of the win. He did a great job in the final Texas event, holding his own in the top five and running as high as second. I am looking forward to heading into the new season with my old teammate and long time friend.”
While thought of by NASCAR folks as “road course specialist,” Lazzaro said he is happy to return to the ovals where he won four of six races on his way to the 1999 Toyota Atlantics championship.
“This has been a long time coming,” Lazzaro said. “I am just thrilled to be heading into a full season and to be doing so with Sam makes it that much better. I will always be grateful for the opportunity he gave me last season to show my capabilities and to get my feet wet with the Indy Racing League. The growth in the series has been incredible and ever year the competition gets that much tougher, so I appreciate the opportunity to get in now.”
The No. 99 car still does not have a primary sponsor for the season, but Schmidt plans to announce a variety of associates along with his plans to entertain hundreds of paralysis patients trackside at the races next season.