Sam Schmidt Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing have announced that they are renewing their partnership for the Indianapolis 500. This year, the No. 99 Schmidt/Ganassi entry will be driven by Townsend Bell.
Bell, the 2001 Indy Lights champion, had a career-best fourth-place finish at Indy in 2009, while driving for KV Racing its highest finish ever at the event. It will be the Californian's third different team at Indy in as many years, having finished 10th at the Brickyard in 2008 with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing.
“I'm excited to be able to confirm my plans for the Indy 500 so early in the year,” Bell said. “To be competing with Sam Schmidt gives me a lot of confidence heading into May – I couldn't be in a better position. I have to thank Sam for his efforts to pull this together. I'm looking forward to working with everyone to produce a great result with a fast car.”
The Schmidt/Ganassi entry was driven at Indy last year by Alex Lloyd, who finished 13th.
“Our relationship with Sam Schmidt Motorsports has defined very clearly the positive aspects of partnership,” said Target Chip Ganassi Racing's managing director, Mike Hull. “We've helped each other to provide value on all levels and thereby creating a mutually beneficial relationship that makes opportunities like this very seamless and smooth.”
“Winning Indy is clearly a lifetime dream,” team owner Sam Schmidt said. “Last year, I said that our effort was our best chance yet to drink milk in Victory Lane, and I have to say that again going into this year's race.
“To be partnered with an organization of the caliber of Chip Ganassi Racing speaks for itself. We're especially excited about Townsend driving the car, because he's always run really well at the track. He took a limited opportunity last year and parlayed it into a top-five finish, and we're hoping with the combined resources we're providing him in a top-flight program, we can all share in a victory celebration come May 30.”