(May 22, 2008) Indianapolis, IN – Pages 162, 163, and 165 of the 2008 Indianapolis 500 program are dedicated to a driver that is not racing this weekend. A young driver who turned the heads of many in the open wheel community when she burst onto the scene in 2007. Driving for Sam Schmidt Motorsports in her first open wheel race, she qualified 5th and had such an impressive run that four time Indy 500 Champion Rick Mears reacted by saying, “Leilani did a great job. I am looking forward to seeing her race some more.”
IndyCar driver Jaques Lazier was also impressed saying, “There were sections in there where people were shrugging their shoulders and wondering, ‘How does she know she could go three-wide right there?’ I said, ‘Hey, she’s a racer!’ Man, she was running a heck of a race. To be honest with you, I didn’t have a huge amount of expectations. She was a rookie. I knew that she was going to be pretty good, but I had no idea that she was going to have the race that she did. I think she impressed not only me, but I think she impressed everybody at Sam Schmidt Motorsports. She also impressed a lot of people at the IRL.”
But because she is a driver who only races when she has sponsorship to make it happen, Leilani Münter was on the sidelines this weekend.
But that did not prevent her from being featured in the 80,000 programs that will be distributed in the month of May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. She is the only Indy Lights driver featured in the program with other editorials focusing on IndyCar drivers Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Vitor Meira, Davey Hamilton, Helio Castroneves, Ryan Briscoe, and Tony Kanaan.
“It’s an honor to have such a nice feature story about me in the program for the biggest race of the year,” said Münter, “but it doesn’t take away the sting of not racing this weekend. It was painful to be at the track.”