Sam Schmidt is a former IndyCar driver and current co-owner of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. The Lincoln, Nebraska native grew up working on race cars with his father who competed in drag races. Sam’s racing career began at the age of five, competing until age 10 when his father was injured during a race. Later in life, Schmidt graduated from Pepperdine University with a BS in Business Administration as well as an MBA in International Finance. By 1997 the then 32-year-old embarked on his first season of IndyCar competition. Schmidt later became a pole winner and race winner in 1999.
Sam was in the midst of off-season testing when he endured a massive hit at Walt Disney World Speedway in Orlando. The IndyCar race winner was airlifted to a nearby hospital where he was later diagnosed as a quadriplegic due to a severe injury on the C-3 and C-4 levels of his spinal cord.
Despite no longer being able to race, Schmidt forged on and created The Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation as well as Sam Schmidt Motorsports, which is today called Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, just 14 months after the accident. Although Sam remains paralyzed from his chest down, thanks to technology, as well as his determination to find ways of independence, the 52-year-old has been granted a license – the first of its kind which allows him to drive a semi-autonomous vehicle. Today Sam, his wife Sheila and their two children, Savannah and Spencer, live in Henderson, Nevada.
Ric Peterson’s racing career began with stock cars and open-wheel formula cars which brought him to the Toyota Atlantic Championship as well as Canadian CASCAR. The Hythe, Alberta native even assisted in the development of a racetrack in his hometown in 1994 because of his love of the sport.
Not only a lover of motorsports but also an entrepreneur, Ric has founded, influenced and developed companies for over 30 years and holds a seat on a number of executive boards. Following a brief stint of retirement, Peterson is now the Chief Executive Officer of Oculus Transport Ltd out of Calgary, Alberta, as well as co-owner of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (SPM).
Ric and his wife Penni have been together for over 35 years and are proud parents to three children and grandparents to four. Today the Petersons live in Calgary and frequent Indianapolis where SPM is based.