Schmidt Peterson, Enerson legal dispute settled

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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The legal dispute between Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Team Enerson Racing, LLC that popped up in the summer of 2016 has been settled between the two parties.

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports released the following statement on Wednesday:

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and RC Enerson, as well as RC Enerson’s former Indy Lights sponsor, Team Enerson Racing, LLC, have settled their claims against each other on mutually acceptable terms.

Sam Schmidt stated, “We are pleased to have this situation behind us. For the record, the terms of our contract with the Enersons provided for early exit and that is what happened in this matter. As the terms of the settlement agreement are confidential, we will have no further comment on this matter. RC is a talented driver, and we wish him nothing but the best in the future.”

The “early exit” note in the contract provides a description of what happened last season in the 2016 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires campaign.

Enerson, projected to be a championship contender for his sophomore season in the series after an impressive debut season at only age 18, was hamstrung by a litany of mechanical failures and other issues outside his control through the opening eight races last year with SPM’s Indy Lights team.

With the early exit option activated, Enerson pursued an opportunity in the Verizon IndyCar Series, and signed a three-race deal with Dale Coyne Racing to compete at the Mid-Ohio, Watkins Glen and Sonoma road course races in the team’s No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda.

What followed was one of the most impressive three-race debut stretches in recent IndyCar memory. Enerson set the third fastest race lap at Mid-Ohio and was top Honda, and ended only behind Chevrolet-powered Team Penske drivers Will Power and Simon Pagenaud. At Watkins Glen, he made it into Q2 in 11th and ended ninth in the race, while having run as high as sixth early on in the race. Sonoma was a tougher event for both he and teammate Conor Daly.

Enerson was known to be on several IndyCar teams’ shopping lists for 2017, but was unable to secure a seat for this most recent season of competition. He made his Rolex 24 at Daytona debut in the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Ligier JS P217 Gibson, although that race was compromised by electrical gremlins that struck shortly after the green flag.

Enerson still remained active and on site at a number of IndyCar races throughout the season, including doing a mix of pace car and two-seater driving, and has been a key part of the Lucas Oil School of Racing’s growth and development as one of its primary driving instructors. At only 20, he’s still plenty young enough to have a long career in the sport, due to the aforementioned talent and feedback he has at his disposal.

Hunter and Jett Lawrence walk a delicate balance between winning races and favoring the fans

Hunter Jett Lawrence fans
Align Media
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ANAHEIM, California – Hunter and Jett Lawrence are two of the most popular riders on the Monster Energy Supercross circuit, with fan bases that established and grew immediately when they came to America to ride for HRC Honda. Connecting with those fans came naturally for the charming Australian brothers, but it has not come without cost.

“It’s cool they’re there and it’s one of the things we try to do is give the fan that interaction,” Hunter told NBC Sports during Supercross Media Sessions ahead of the 2023 season. “It’s why we do ride days, meet-and-greets, press conferences  – all that stuff, because it’s exciting for them. We are trying to bridge the gap so they get personal interaction. Because that’s all they’re after. It’s all about getting that fan to think, ‘I know that guy. I didn’t meet him, but I get him. I get his humor.’ ”

There is no artifice in either brother. Their fan appeal is directly attributable to who they are at their core. And it’s that very genuineness that has throngs of fans standing outside their hauler, waiting for just a moment of their time.

“It’s about being yourself – talking to people,” Hunter said. “It’s not like I turn it on or turn it off; it’s just about being yourself. This is who we are, this is who you get and this is how it will be. You can’t portray something you’re not. If you keep saying you’re an orange, but apples keep popping out, it’s only a matter of time [until they figure it out].”

The key word is ‘throngs’, however. One person wanting just a few moments of time is incidental. Dozens are an entirely different matter.

“It’s tough in Supercross because it’s such a long day,” Hunter said. “The recovery side of it’s tough to do everything. We get stuck outside the grid; we can’t be there for like 10 minutes. We’re stuck there for like an hour. It gets overwhelming at times.

“You feel bad because you want to sign everything, but you’re still here for a job. Every race day is like that. We do the best we can, but there are so many people who wait out front. They’re screaming for you. Even when we’re coming off the sessions, they’re already yelling before you put your bike on the stands. You don’t even get time to take you helmet off.”

It can be a double-edged sword. Personality is only one part of the equation. A much bigger part of the brothers’ fan appeal comes because of their success. Hunter finished second in the last two Supercross 250 West title battles and third in the past two Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championships.

Jett won the last three titles he competed for, including last year’s 250 East Supercross Championship and the last two Motocross contests.

“I think they expect me to have nothing else to do on a Saturday and that I have unlimited energy,” Jett said. “But, I’m trying to recover for the next race.”

It’s a matter of timing. Jett has gained a reputation last year for handing out hundreds of donuts before the races during Red Bull fan appreciation sessions. And after the race, once the business at hand has been settled, Jett is equally available to the fans.

“After the race it’s fine; I’ll stay behind.” Jett said. “My job is done on the racing side of things, but until that last moto is done, my main thing is dirt bikes. The fans come along with it. The fans are part of the job, but main job at hand is the racing side of things. After the race, I’ll stay there for an hour or so. It’s a lot calmer.”