Schmidt Peterson Indy Lights program ceases operations

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

Sam Schmidt’s Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires program, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, will not answer the bell in 2017, NBC Sports has learned.

Multiple sources indicated the SPM Indy Lights team has ceased operations this week, which brings to an end one of the longest running and most successful tenures in the championship.

Trackside Online, via the TSO Ladder site, spoke to both team co-owner Schmidt and Andersen Promotions president/CEO Dan Andersen to confirm the news.

“It’s positive economics on the IndyCar side, and negative economics on the Indy Lights side. I didn’t have enough time to devote to it and that’s why we haven’t been able to find any drivers for 2017 with funding,” Schmidt told TSO.

You can view that full report here. An SPM team spokesperson told NBC Sports they expected to have more information regarding the Lights program status on Tuesday.

The team dropped from fielding four full-time cars to two midseason this year, after RC Enerson’s season had been hamstrung by various mechanical issues, and the choice was made to reallocate his available budget to pursue an IndyCar opportunity.

Meanwhile the fourth car, shared by Scott Anderson and Heamin Choi, dropped to a part-time entry after the Freedom 100 and only reappeared later in the year on two more race weekends (Iowa and Monterey).

It left Santiago Urrutia and Andre Negrao as Schmidt’s only two bullets in the gun for the rest of the campaign, although both drivers had a good second half of the year.

The new-look Indy Lights series – then called the Infiniti Pro Series – was launched in 2002 and Schmidt was there from the start. A couple years later, the team took the series by storm.

Starting with Thiago Medeiros in 2004, Schmidt went on to capture seven Lights championships in a 10-year run. The series changed names in 2008 back to Indy Lights from Infiniti and Indy Pro.

After Medeiros, Jay Howard (2006), Alex Lloyd (2007), JK Vernay (2010), Josef Newgarden (2011), Tristan Vautier (2012) and Sage Karam (2013) all won titles for Schmidt, and the team had several others who won races for them.

In recent years though, Schmidt’s team has come up gut-wrenchingly short in title terms, 0-3 since. Gabby Chaves – who’d driven for Schmidt in 2013 – beat new Schmidt recruit Jack Harvey on a tiebreaker the following year in 2014.

Harvey also fell short in 2015 to Spencer Pigot and Juncos Racing, which beat the veterans in their step up from the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires.

This year, Urrutia held the edge in points going into the final month of the season, but a strategic misfire at Watkins Glen that led to a puncture, and the controversial ending at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca where Felix Serralles let Ed Jones by on the last lap, doomed Urrutia’s title chances.

It changes the ballgame quite a bit for Indy Lights, with these cars and additional equipment now set to become available for other teams.

SPM’s IndyCar program will continue unaffected with at least two full-time cars, and potentially a third car for additional races. With this news, it could free up some personnel for that third car.

Supercross 2023: Results and points after Detroit


The focus of the Detroit Monster Energy Supercross round was on the mid-pack battle while Aaron Plessinger pulled away from the field, but when he crashed after hooking his foot in the dirt, the results once more looked like we’ve come to expect, with Chase Sexton, Cooper Webb and Eli Tomac sharing the podium for the fifth time in 10 rounds.

Supercross Results Detroit
Justin Barcia was part of an exciting, four-rider battle in the middle of Detroit’s A-Main. – Feld Motor Sports

For Sexton, Plessinger’s late-race crash was a vindication of sorts. Several times already this season, Sexton has crashed while battling for the lead and the points that has cost him keeps him sporting the red plate. He lost points in Detroit for a different reason, however.

Sexton was allowed to keep the win, but was penalized seven points for jumping in a red cross section of the course. As a result, he dropped four points to Webb and two to Tomac. Sexton is now 17 points behind Webb in the championship hunt.

RESULTS: Click here for full 450 Overall Results; Click here for 250 Overall Results

One week after snatching the red plate from Tomac for the first time in 2023, Webb stretched his advantage by two. With his second-place finish, Webb holds a three-point lead over Tomac, which essentially means both riders control their fate in the coming weeks. Webb continues to have a sweep of the top five this season with his sixth consecutive podium.

Coming off his worst finish of the season, Tomac rebounded to finish third. His eighth-place result last week was partially attributed to a stiff neck that hindered him in traffic and he still suffered some of those same effects in Detroit. Before Plessinger’s crash, he was destined to be the only rider in the three-man title scrum to finish off the podium in Detroit.

It is surprising what one position can do for one’s confidence.

Click here for 450 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier | Lap Chart

Justin Barcia scored his fourth top-five of the season. He was part of the exciting four-man battle that dominated the middle stages of the race before Sexton and Webb gained a little separation. Finishing less than three seconds behind Tomac, he kept that rider honest for the entire race.

Coming off his first win of the season, Ken Roczen finished fifth. It was his seventh top-five of the season and it elevated him to fifth in the standings.

Plessinger’s fall took the wind from his sails. He attempted to right his bike after a hard crash, but as it smoked and pinged, he dropped to 13th in the final rundown.

Click here for 450 Overall results | Rider Points | Manufacturer Points

Hunter Lawrence tied his brother Jett Lawrence with 10 wins each after another dominating ride in the Detroit Supercross race and the results in the points continue to widen. With his fifth win in six rounds and a worst finish of third, Lawrence now has a 35-point advantage over Nate Thrasher with four rounds remaining. Finishes of 14th or better in the final four mains will give him his first 250 championship.

Supercross Results Detroit
Strong starts have been one of the keys to Hunter Lawrence’s success in 2023. – Feld Motor Sports

Jett will have an opportunity to retake his wins’ lead as Supercross heads west for the next two rounds in Seattle and Glendale, Arizona.

Nate Thrasher earned his third second-place finish of the season with a gap of 7.6 seconds to Lawrence. He won the overall in Arlington earlier this season, but a 15th-place finish in the opening round in Houston and 10th in Daytona hurts his championship chances.

Click here for 250 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier | Lap Chart

Haiden Deegan scored his second podium and fourth top-five in six rounds of his young career. On his way to that finish, he rode aggressively against his teammate Jordon Smith in the heat race. Fans are getting a glimpse of what his on-track personality might be.

Jeremy Martin continues to be the model of consistency. He has not finished worse than sixth or better than fourth in six rounds now and that has allowed him to close to within two points of third in the 250 East championship standings.

Rounding out the top five is Chris Blose, who was pressed into service at the start of the season because of a rash of injuries at Pro Circuit Kawasaki. This is Blose’s first top-five of the season, although he’s steadily improved over the past five rounds.

Click here for 250 Overall results | 250 East Rider Points | 250 Combined Rider Points

Max Anstie entered the race weekend second in the points, but a hard crash in heavy traffic early in the main forced him to retire after two laps. Earning only one point for the round, he plummeted to fifth in the standings.

The news was worse for Smith, who was dropped out of the top nine in his heat after the altercation with Deegan and failed to advance through the LCQ. In the last chance race, he stalled his engine and had to mount a determined charge. He got only as high as seventh in that race after crashing while attempting to make a pass on fourth-place Jack Chambers.

2023 Results

Round 10: Chace Sexton wins, penalized
Round 9: Ken Roczen wins
Round 8: Eli Tomac wins 7th Daytona
Round 7: Cooper Webb wins second race
Race 6: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence win
Race 5: Webb, Hunter Lawrence win
Race 4: Tomac, H Lawrence win
Race 3: Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen win
Race 2: Tomac, J Lawrence win
Round 1: Tomac, J Lawrence win

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings

Week 8: Chase Sexton unseats Eli Tomac
Week 7: Jason Anderson narrowly trails Tomac
Week 6: Perfect Oakland night keeps Tomac first
Week 5: Cooper Webb, Sexton close gap
Week 4: Tomac retakes lead
Week 3: Ken Roczen takes the top spot
Week 2: Roczen moves up; Sexton falls
Week 1: Tomac tops 450s; Jett Lawrence 250s