100th Indianapolis 500 team preview: Schmidt Peterson Motorsports

Photo: IndyCar

MotorSportsTalk looks through the Verizon IndyCar Series grid ahead of the 100th Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil. Next up is Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

After a nightmare 2015 month of May with James Hinchcliffe’s near-fatal accident in practice, then a resilient race day with Ryan Briscoe driving from 31st to 12th, SPM will be looking for a calmer month this year with three new drivers.


James Hinchcliffe, No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
Mikhail Aleshin, No. 7 SMP Racing Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
Oriol Servia, No. 77 Lucas Oil/Jahia Solutions Group SPM with Marotti Racing Honda


Hinchcliffe enters May with a pair of top-10s in the last two races and Aleshin survived the mess in St. Petersburg for a top-five. SPM’s been there or thereabouts but like the rest of the Honda teams, struggling for outright performance beyond the lower reaches of the top 10.


SPM’s not been the best team at Indy the last few years but has an amicable lineup this go-around. Hinchcliffe’s planned race return is arguably the team’s biggest storyline, and Servia will likely prove invaluable as a setup and feedback resource. Aleshin, too, makes his first big oval start since his last big oval heavy accident at Fontana, which was also terrifying to witness.

The mid-to-lower region of the top-10 is a likely best-case scenario for each of these three drivers. But given the strategists at SPM’s disposal, a strategic gamble could get the finishing positions higher.


  • 2015: 12. 5-Briscoe (31), 18. 7-Jakes (19), 33. 43-Daly (22)
  • 2014: 12. 77-Pagenaud (5), 14. 5-Villeneuve (27), 21. 7-Aleshin (15)
  • 2013: 8. 77-Pagenaud (21), 16. 55-Vautier (28), 26. 81-Legge (33)
  • 2012: 9. 99-Bell (20), 16. 77-Pagenaud (23)

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10-3 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 7 p.m. to USA Network. Peacock will have flag-to-flag coverage.



Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III