Schmidt has three drivers in the Indianapolis 500 and was confidence her car had more speed if she had to bump her way back into the race.
“We still had another 1-1/2 miles per hour of downforce to take off the car,” Schmidt said. “Our first attempt was to just put her car into the show and make Michel beat us. I haven’t been here as long as three quarters of the people out here but I do know when he was trying his hardest at 216 or 217 it just wasn’t going to happen.”
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing even put Graham Rahal in the car on Sunday to try to get a feel for what was wrong and the car was more than diabolical.
“It was going to be very hard,” Jourdain said. “All week we struggled. Right away, I didn’t feel the car very well but when you’re only driving once a year it’s just so hard to know. It’s just a feel thing and some days it feels really well and getting a little better every day and it was just a low point. I tried James’ setup this morning and he was the fastest of the three cars. Coming out of Turn 4 on the first lap I almost spun and I felt this car isn’t drivable. We put Graham in the car with his exact setup and everything, steering wheel and everything, he just could drive it. He got the 204 and said ‘I’m not going any faster.’ He said you try to go flat out and come in Turn 4 and it’s impossible.
“So we went back and we changed it – the front win, we tried but as soon as I came in the car was the same. We didn’t want to do something stupid and put the car in the wall – not the make the race anyway – so there was no point in it.”
Jourdain’s last lap on the track was 214.421 mph at 5:33 p.m. A few minutes later Rahal realized the chances of making the race were doomed.”
“We know there is something wrong with the car,” Jourdain said. “Something is bent, broken, bending, loose; something is wrong in the car that we haven’t seen all week.”
Legge had been talking to Schmidt about a ride since 2011. It finally became a reality on Pole Day.
“We spent 90 days putting together a commercial program to run Townsend Bell again but at Long Beach it got yanked because Chevrolet wanted it involved with a Chevy team,” Schmidt said. “I don’t have a problem with that. That is business. That is racing. They paid a lot of money to be part of the Turbo movie. It was too late to put a full-week deal put together so we ended up signing her deal on Pole Day morning.
“Everybody in the paddock knows I had a solid six drivers calling me every 15 minutes this week because they knew I had that car was available. But the combination of her, the PR she brings, the personality and the fact she needs to be in this series full-time. I’m proud of the fact that we brought Simon Pagenaud back to this series and if she does well and someone offers her a job that’s fantastic because she deserves it.”