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Schmidt Peterson Indy Lights program ceases operations

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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.

Adam Cianciarulo sweeps to second straight Pro Motocross 450 win

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Adam Cianciarulo (450) and Dylan Ferrandis (250) swept both motos of their divisions Saturday in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship event at Spring Creek MX Park in Millville, Minnesota, significantly impacting the points standings.

After scoring his first career victory Sept. 8 at RedBud, Cianciarulo made it two consecutive victories on his Monster Energy Kawasaki. He won the first moto by 1.7 seconds over Blake Baggett and the second moto by 2.7 seconds over Baggett.

“Man, what a dream come true,” Cianciarulo said. “I really wanted to go 1-1 last round at RedBud and had that silly mistake. Today, we got the job done and made it happen. Two consecutive victories in the 450 Class just feels really good. I just want to keep the ball rolling.”

With three rounds remaining, Cianciarulo is ranked second in the standings at a 15-point deficit to Zach Osborne, who won three of the first five rounds.

In the 250 standings, Dylan Ferrandis jumped ahead of Jeremy Martin (who won three consecutive events earlier in the season) by three points (257-254).

Dylan Ferrandis swept both motos for his second win of the season in the 250 class (Align Media).

Ferrandis beat third-ranked RJ Hampshire in the first moto and nipping Martin by 0.4 seconds in the second.

“That was a difficult race in the second moto and the pressure was on,” Ferrandis said. “It was really good for me to have that battle and come out on top in the second moto. The championship is really close and I think that we were able to put on a good show for everyone today. Jeremy [Martin] and I have a good relationship I think and we congratulated each other and talked about the battle after the race.”

NEXT: The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship will hold its seventh round Sept. 26 with the Geico Motorcycle WW Ranch National at Jacksonville, Florida.


RESULTS

Thor Spring Creek National (Spring Creek MX Park, Millville, Minnesota)

450 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish)

  1. Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki (1-1)
  2. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., KTM (2-2)
  3. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Yamaha (5-4)
  4. Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda (8-3)
  5. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki (6-5)
  6. Marvin Musquin, France, KTM (3-10)
  7. Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Honda (7-6)
  8. Joey Savatgy, , Suzuki (9-7)
  9. Max Anstie, United Kingdom, Suzuki (10-8)
  10. Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Husqvarna (4-16)

450 Class Championship Standings

  1. Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Husqvarna – 235
  2. Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki – 220
  3. Marvin Musquin, France, KTM – 215
  4. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki – 196
  5. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Yamaha – 194
  6. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., KTM – 190
  7. Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda – 173
  8. Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Honda – 141
  9. Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Yamaha – 134
  10. Joey Savatgy, Tallahassee, Fla., Suzuki – 122

250 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish)

  1. Dylan Ferrandis, France, Yamaha (1-1)
  2. Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Honda (5-2)
  3. Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., Suzuki (4-4)
  4. Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda (3-6)
  5. Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha (9-3)
  6. RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna (2-11)
  7. Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda (7-5)
  8. Jo Shimoda, Japan, Honda (12-8)
  9. Mitchell Harrison, Brighton, Mich., Kawasaki (11-9)
  10. Derek Drake, San Luis Obispo, Calif., KTM (8-12)

250 Class Championship Standings

  1. Dylan Ferrandis, France, Yamaha – 257
  2. Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Honda – 254
  3. RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna – 202
  4. Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., Suzuki – 194
  5. Shane McElrath, Canton, N.C., Yamaha – 186
  6. Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha – 164
  7. Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda – 162
  8. Cameron McAdoo, Sioux City, Iowa, Kawasaki – 140
  9. Mitchell Harrison, Brighton, Mich., Kawasaki – 123
  10. Brandon Hartranft, Brick, N.J., KTM – 114
Adam Cianciarulo won the holeshot in both motos at Spring Creek (Align Media).