Schmidt Peterson Motorsports said Tuesday they will not be running Juan Pablo Montoya or Danica Patrick in this years running of the Indianapolis 500.
Sam Schmidt says the team will still look to run a third car at the 500 along with the two full-time cars of Canadian dream team James Hinchcliffe and Robert Wickens. SPM will also field a joint car with Michael Shank Racing and Jack Harvey.
SPM’s announcement isn’t a shock to IndyCar fans, both drivers were viewed as long shots for the team. It’s disappointing neither will be able to step into one of the teams Honda-powered cars. SPM is generally very competitive at the speedway, especially in qualifying.
The Montoya Blockade
Speculation around SPM running Montoya has existed for a while. In 2017, Roger Penske said he would allow Montoya to run the Indy 500 for another team. Anyone with a pulse knew that would never happen and of course, it will not happen. Penske according to Schmidt would not allow him to run the 500 with SPM. “I was told that Roger wouldn’t let him,” said Schmid. A curious move considering Montoya races for the factory Acura team in IMSA and SPM races Honda, you would think this is a match made in heaven.
Unfortunately, Penske blocked the move after saying he originally wouldn’t and now one of the best to wheel it around the speedway won’t get the opportunity to in 2018. Perhaps Penske is scared Montoya could win. Either way, it’s a huge disappointment a guy like Montoya will be sidelined while a “model” will likely have a ride.
Danica Double, Or Single, Or None, Who Knows
On to the other driver, SPM ruled out. Danica will not be climbing into an SPM Honda this May. Schmidt says they haven’t really talked about it but he’s not interested in entertaining the idea of the former IndyCar driver getting in his car for May.
Not because of talent, rather because of the distraction that it would cause within the team. “I don’t know, we kind of evaluate it as too much of a distraction with all the fanfare and everything that goes along with it,” said Schmidt.SPM is looking to be a front-runner and title contender this season, Indianapolis is a huge double points race. SPM needs to funnel all of their resources into Hinch and Wickens.
Schmidt straight admitting that Danica would be a distraction is an honest take. One that he’ll probably be ridiculed for but one that he is absolutely right about. The amount of press around her car all month will be insane. Danica still gets the clicks. For her last race though she’ll have to look elsewhere. Might we suggest Dreyer Reinbold?
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