Sam Schmidt’s inspirational lap in SAM Project, Arrow Corvette on NBC Nightly News (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

2 Comments

One of the highlights of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend came not during any of the on-track scheduled sessions themselves, but in a single-lap run by Sam Schmidt in a modified 2014 Corvette C7 Stingray.

As he did in Indianapolis last year on pole day Sunday, Schmidt got behind the wheel of the SAM Car he controls only with his head – operating the car with his head and mouth only. It’s a design feat pulled off by Arrow Electronics, which initially came to Schmidt with the idea.

Sunday in Long Beach marked the first time that this vehicle designed for quadriplegic drivers navigated the twists, turns and concrete barriers of a streets course. But Schmidt pulled it off with aplomb.

“It’s basically a miracle to even be involved in the project,” Schmidt said, via IndyCar.com. “It was sort of the honeymoon effect going to Indy and getting to 107 (mph); basically checking everything off the list. But that was a seven-month process to get there. Then it was a step back and say, ‘Hey, we want to keep going and take it to the next level,’ and clearly that was make the acceleration and deceleration more in control, more intuitive.

“Then how are we going to challenge ourselves, and the challenge is to go left and right in an instantaneous fashion.”

Schmidt’s preparation for Long Beach was chronicled in an NBC Nightly News segment last night, where Harry Smith spoke to Schmidt during a test session at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.

The video clip is above; photos from testing and then Sunday at Long Beach are linked below.

source:
Photo: Arrow/SAM Car Project
source:
Photo: Arrow/SAM Car Project
source:
Photo: INDYCAR
source:
Photo: INDYCAR
source: AP
Photo: INDYCAR

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Leave a comment

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.