Sam Schmidt, a one-time IndyCar Series driver who suffered a horrific accident and is now a quadriplegic still has the racing bug in him. He has been fulfilling that adrenaline rush by being an owner of an IndyCar racing team, with his car winning the pole for the 100th Indy 500 and also driving in a simulated racing series.

His biggest project has been finding a way for those with paralysis and other disabilities to be able to race cars. One project he has been working on is with Arrow Electronics, as they develop a semi-autonomous race car.

That project continues to grow, and as the annual Indianapolis 500 is just a week away the two sides took to the famed track this weekend. What resulted was a new speed record for a semi-autonomous car.

Schmidt helped guide the car to a top speed of 152 mph around the famed circuit in Speedway, Ind. He managed to pull that off by driving the car with movements from his head and his eyes, in between qualifying sessions at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the run up to the 100th anniversary of the race this past week.

How were Arrow Electronics and Schmidt able to get going so fast on the track? It didn’t hurt that he was driving a 2016 Corvette Z06, that’s for sure. It also didn’t hurt that the company has worked hard behind the scenes to build a car more responsive to Schmidt’s (and others like him) needs behind the wheel:

The modified 2016 Corvette Z06 features 200+ more horsepower than the previous model and is the second open-source semi-autonomous car that Arrow has built. Arrow engineers also improved the electronics that allow Schmidt to steer, accelerate and brake using only his head. Sensors mounted on a high-tech headset that Schmidt wears more accurately connect to infrared cameras mounted on the dashboard and detect his head-tilt motions to steer. The car now also features state-of-art live streaming and replay of telemetry, driver biometrics, environmental conditions, driver point-of-view video and other key data, enabling Schmidt and his co-driver to correct any issues in real-time.

Schmidt sounded like his old self, enjoying being at a real racing speed around the famed track once again.

“It was a thrill to be back in control and hitting racing speeds on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway again,” said Schmidt, who blasted past his previous SAM car top speed of 107 mph, set in 2014 at the same track. “The SAM project is a great example of what’s possible when the right people come together to innovate and push boundaries.”

Perhaps there is a future for Schmidt and others like him to actually get back to racing on a circuit for real once again. The SAM project continues to improve and with this latest development, perhaps that future is closer to reality than ever before.

[Business Wire/Photo: Business Wire]

About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a contributor to The Comeback as well as Publisher of Big Ten site talking10. He also is a member of the FWAA and has been covering college sports since 2011. Andy is an avid soccer fan and runs the Celtic FC site The Celtic Bhoys. If he's not writing about sports, you can find him enjoying them in front of the TV with a good beer!