Jaime Camara earned the pole position for Saturday afternoon's Cleanevent 100 at the Nashville Superspeedway. Camara averaged 179.062 mph around the 1.3-mile high banked concrete speedway to earn his second Menards Infiniti Pro Series pole. Camara's car is entered by Sam Schmidt Motorsports, the same team that won last year's pole with Thiago Medeiros at an average speed of 182.386 mph.
Two of Sam Schmidt's three drivers will start Saturday's race from the front row as Travis Gregg will start second after missing the pole by 0.0289 of a second. Schmidt was confident that Camara would win the pole but wasn't sure about his other two drivers because "before qualifying they were out to lunch."
Tenth fastest after two practice sessions, Gregg said he owed his front row qualifying speed to his "right foot."
In addition to the track picking up grip as the Pro Series and IndyCar Series put down their rubber, Gregg's team was able to eliminate the push condition he experienced during practice. "I wasn't flat in practice," said Gregg. "We tested here a couple of weeks ago using a back up car. I was flat out during the test but it was different when I went out this morning."
Gregg explained that part of his problem was because he was lifting off the throttle, making the car light. "I knew I just had to keep my right foot in it."
After completing his qualifying run, Camara had to wait as six drivers remained in line to make their runs. "I messed up really bad in turns one and two," said Camara as he walked from his car."
After being awarded the pole, Camara admitted, "I didn't think I was going to get the pole. But now I know I can go faster and that will be good for tomorrow."
Wade Cunningham will start third after qualifying at 177.858 mph. "We just eased into it this morning because we had a couple of good tests here. The speeds were there in both sessions this morning," said Cunningham, who turned a lap at 178.844 mph in practice. "I think we just fluffed up a bit in qualifying so we'll go back and find out where we lost the speed and be ready for tomorrow."
Cunningham will start alongside his Brian Stewart Racing teammate Arie Luyendyk Jr. "We started off a little slow, struggling with the balance of the car," said Luyendyk. "The track picked up a lot of grip and we made some changes before qualifying." Luyendyk improved through the day, turning a lap at 175.127 in the morning and 176.065 in the afternoon before qualifying at 177.063 mph.
Jon Herb will start fifth followed by Tom Wood and Jeff Simmons in seventh.
Jay Drake, who set the fastest lap prior to qualifying (179.415 mph), brushed the turn four wall in a single car incident during the second practice session and was unable to make a qualifying run. Drake was uninjured.