Special Motorsports Event - An American Real Thanksgiving Message From San Schmidt

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Corona, Nov. 22, 2012: Bound to a wheelchair after a serious crash rendered him paralyzed from the chest down, former race car driver Sam Schmidt would seem an unlikely source for a television network to find Thanksgiving inspiration. But in the case of MAVTV, Schmidt's triumphant year as an IndyCar series team owner made for an ideal subject matter at a time when American's pause to give thanks for the blessings in their lives.

Produced by sister company Lucas Oil Production Studios, MAVTV will begin airing a new 60-second vignette on Schmidt's story as part of the network's ongoing "American Real" promotional campaign. Created to help tell the colorful and engaging story of real Americans contributing to the betterment of us all, the "American Real" 30 and 60-second vignettes have become a popular feature of the rapidly expanding network's content package.

Sam Schmidt's story is one of hope, inspiration and the appreciation of life. Although his father was severely hurt in a racing related accident, Schmidt's dream nonetheless was to compete in the Indianapolis 500. It was a goal he fulfilled in 1997. He made 27 successful starts in the Indy Racing League (IRL) before a serious testing accident in January, 2000 at the Disney World Speedway in Orlando injured his spinal cord and left him a quadriplegic.

Despite the tragic injury, Schmidt found strength in family, faith and the entire motorsports community. Just five months later he formed The Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation to help fund medical research, innovative rehabilitation equipment and aiding victims in need.

With the urging of his wife and parents, in 2001 the energetic Schmidt formed his San Schmidt Motorsports team, which has become a powerful force in the IZOD IndyCar and the Firestone Indy Lights series. In 2011 this effort not only produced one of the most celebrated Indianapolis 500 pole wins in history, but it is also celebrated their sixth Indy Lights championship in 2012.

The new Sam Schmidt MAVTV "American Real" vignette will begin airing the week before the 2012 Thanksgiving holiday on the MATV-American Real network.

"For Americans in every corner of this country, Sam Schmidt's message of giving thanks for the blessings in our lives is one we can all share at this time of year," said MAVTV President Bob Patison. "MAVTV looks forward to holding up a mirror to the 'American Real' culture of today and telling its diverse and powerful story for years to come."

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