Sam Schmidt continues to amaze.
Through modern technology, the Verizon IndyCar Series driver turned team owner, who was left a quadriplegic in an accident in January 2000 while practicing at Walt Disney World Speedway, is once again a race car driver of sorts.
Schmidt, along with co-driver Robby Unser, competed in Sunday’s 94th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb near Colorado Sprints, Colorado.
Inclement weather cut short their run: Schmidt and Unser got about halfway up the 12.42-mile, 156-turn course before a combination of rain, snow and hail forced them to abandon their quest.
Yet, just to see Schmidt back behind the wheel and having his competitive juices flowing again was nothing short of inspirational and amazing.
It was actually the second time Schmidt has attacked the mountain, which has very few guardrails. He drove alone in a practice run two weeks ago and made it to the top of the 14,110-foot summit by himself, behind the wheel of a specially-equipped Arrow Electronics-sponsored Chevrolet Corvette.
A resident of Henderson, Nevada, Schmidt controls the car using just vision sensors and blowing through a tube, according to Ron Kantowski of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
“They turned us around and had the other (finishing) cars follow us down,” Schmidt said, according to Kantowski. “It was really well-received. It was all good.”