Sam Schmidt is anything but a quitter. Born and raised in Lincoln, Nevada, he grew up with a loving family and a passion for racing. Sam’s father was a drag racing competitor who took his family to many events. Sam began to compete in motocross races at a young age. Years later, his father was injured at a racing event. This unfortunate event halted Sam’s dreams of being a racer.
During his college years, Sam became a founding member of the Lambda Omega Sigma fraternity where he spent some time servicing churches and orphanages. Even though he graduated with a BS in Business Administration and an MBA in International Finance, his heart still belonged to racing. He bought his father’s automotive business and assisted his uncle who was a racer as well and it wasn’t until he began working with his uncle did he decide to follow his old dream.
Sam began competing in events such as Western Region, Hooters Pro Cup series, and the Indy 500. He was on a streak, winning first and third place awards, until the day that changed his life. While practicing on the Walt Disney World Speedway, Sam crashed into a wall. This tragic accident in 2000 left Sam unable to move due to severe damage in his spinal cord. He was diagnosed as a quadriplegic.
Sam didn’t let this accident halt his life. He could have let it overcome him but he made the choice to overcome it. With loving support from him family and friends, Sam started The Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation and Sam Schmidt Motor sports. To this day, he is still dedicated to the company and his team. Even though he no longer races, he finds joy in helping others with the same love for the sport. Sam Schmidt Motorsports has been a winner of the Indy Lights for three consecutive years. Last season, Simon Pagenaud, one of Sam’s drivers, took home two wins and finished third in Season’s Standing’s.
Sam’s amazing story gives us hope. It shows us we have a choice of how we let the terrible things in life affect us. We can always strive to do better for ourselves and for the people around us no matter what the circumstances may be. And that is exactly what Sam Schmidt continues to do.
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