Schmied Scores First TCX Podium in Wisconsin

August 23rd 2023 – Elkhart Lake, WI.

Kenny Schmied and the AOA Racing #14 BMW M2 CS Racing traveled to Elkhart Lake Wisconsin over the weekend for rounds 9 and 10 of the 2023 Touring Car America season. With Road America being Schmied’s favorite track, the team had high hopes for the weekend. Putting in competitive times throughout testing and practice, Schmied would ultimately qualify the #14 in P4. In Race 1, a rough run through turn 1 on lap 1 would cost Schmied several positions out of the gate, but a multi-car accident just after the Sargento bridge between turns 3 and 5 would reset things. After a period of full-course yellow, the session was eventually red flagged to repair trackside concrete barriers. After the restart, Schmied would fight his way forward to finish Race 1 in P4.

Schmied would start Race 2 from 6th on the grid, and with a much better start would find himself in 4th by the end of the first lap. Schmied, now behind the #29 BMW of Nick Roberts, was hunting and looking for a way by. With about 15 minutes left in the race, Roberts went wide in the middle of turn 5, opening the door for Schmied who quickly pounced on the opportunity, making the pass on corner entry in to turn 6. Schmied would ultimately check out from the battling BMW’s behind and bring home the #14 AOA Racing M2 Cup in P3, earning the EBOOST Hard Charger Award in the process.


The weekend started off with two test sessions on Thursday. Rain showers overnight meant the track was damp, so the team opted to wait until half way through the first session to enter the track on slicks. Shortly after, a red flag due to a crash in the kink would eat up most of the remaining running time in test 1. “This new track surface is tricky. There’s a lot of grip on-line, but go off-line just a bit and it’s very slick. Combine that with the water on the track, and the first session was tricky” said Schmied. 

The track would dry out for test 2 later in the afternoon, and Schmied would go about the business of learning the new track surface. Pushing hard through the session, the #14 would run out of fuel near the end of the session, forcing Schmied to take the escape route through turn 5, ending Thursday just slightly early for the #14 AOA car.

Friday’s running was as chaotic as Thursday’s, with multiple cars having accidents during the two official practice sessions on hand. As the drivers came to grips with the new surface, Schmied began to find pace and speed. “It really does feel great out there. There’s so much grip if you get it right. But that’s the kicker, you have to get it right. A lot of the accidents we’re seeing, people are driving it like the old surface which had grip everywhere. So I think it’s taking some people a while to come to grips with the new asphalt.” Schmied said. 

Early on Saturday, the field would line up for their 15-minute qualifying session. Schmied would hold P3 and the fastest BMW spot until the #44 BMW of Colin Garrett would snatch it from him by four-tenths on the very last lap. Starting outside row 2 for Race 1, Schmied would get a good launch off the starting line, but would carry too much speed into turn 1. This forced Schmied very wide, and he was overtaken by 4 other cars in the process. Exiting turn 3 in 8th position, a large wreck at the front of the field just after the Sargento bridge would take Maddie Aust, Matt Pombo, and Adam Gleason out of the running. Schmied would lose a spot while checking up for the wreck, but after the three retirements, would be in P6 for the restart.

After a brief bout of full-course yellow, followed by a longer red-flag period, the field would rejoin the track for the restart. Getting a great run off the line, Schmied would pass two cars on the first lap to move up to fourth. Chomping on the heels of the #18 BMW of Aaron Kaplan, Schmied was setting up the move on the final lap when he carried too much speed into turn 8, costing him the opportunity. “Man, I really wanted to get P3 here today. I was right on his [Aaron] tail on the last lap and was trying to set up an exit from the carousel… when I just got too deep on the exit and got way out of shape. I gathered it up and brought it home in fourth, but really wish I could have grabbed that podium spot!” Schmied said of the day’s efforts. 


Schmied would have another chance on Sunday, as he lined up P6 for the race start. The start of Race 2 saw Schmied again get a good launch off the start as well as a much better run through turn 1. With no large wreck to stymie the start, Schmied would pass two cars on the first lap to move up to fourth.

Now behind the #29 BMW of Nick Roberts, Schmied had his eyes set on the P3 that eluded him the previous day. On the radio, Schmied could be heard telling the team he could see that Roberts was struggling, and was sliding around a lot. 

Applying the pressure, Schmied drove without mistakes, saving his move for the right opportunity. With 15 minutes left in the race, Schmied hot on his tails, Roberts had a moment in turn 5 which opened the door for Schmied to drive to the entry of 6 and pick off the final podium spot. But the day wasn’t over for Schmied, as the #14 BMW was struggling for power on the straights, which immediately forced Schmied into a defensive position. 

However, after a few laps of holding off the attacking #29 of Nick Roberts and the #18 of Aaron Kaplan, Schmied caught a break when he was able to use the out of class car of Spencer Bucknum as a pick to get some space between him and the BMW’s behind. Able to drive his line, Schmied now put in a gap to the cars behind, extending his lead as he tried to secure his first podium in professional racing. 

Schmied would hold on to the position until the end of the race, and bring home his first podium and another EBOOST hard charger award for his efforts in moving from 6th to 3rd within the race. “It was a fantastic day out there. It was a struggle because we were a bit down on straight line speed, so while I felt like I was driving better than Roberts through the whole race, I just didn’t have the opportunity at the right time to make the move. But then I finally had the chance so I had to pounce on it immediately. Thankfully after a few laps of defending, I was able to use Spencer as a pick to get some space to drive my line. I think they started fighting among themselves, and I finally got a break! Feels really good to bring this home, both for me and for the team and crew. These guys work so hard to give me the best chance out there, so it’s just great to see it all come together and finally bring home some hardware.” Schmied said. 

Schmied and AOA Racing head to Sebring International Raceway in late September for Rounds 11 and 12 of the 2023 Touring Car America season. Tickets for GT World Challenge America @ Sebring can be bought here.

Photos from TC America at Road America can be found below or at the photo gallery page here.