Schmidt Drivers Get 1-2-3 Lineup For Finale
Gregg Gets Sixth Pole, Camara, Festa are 2nd, 3rd
FONTANA, Calif. -- In dominating fashion, Sam Schmidt Motorsports took control of the top three positions on the starting grid for Sunday's California 100 Menards Infiniti Pro Series race at California Speedway.
Travis Gregg, a Miami University graduate from Camden, Ohio, put the #7 Lucas Oil Special Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry first on the starting grid, capturing his sixth pole with a time of 38.1293 seconds (188.831 MPH). Jaime Camara, 24, a Brazilian native living in Miami, rebounded from technical issues in practice and qualified the #1 CELG Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry outside of Gregg on the front row with a lap time of 38.2419 (188.275 MPH). With Gregg and Camara lining up 1-2, Florida State University student Chris Festa made his qualifying attempt. Festa put the #19 SpacePak/CareCentric Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry third with a lap time of 38.3580 (187.705 MPH). P.J. Abbott, of Grand Prairie, Tex., will start fourteenth in the #11 American Red Cross Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry.
Gregg, who is third in series points, is enjoying the return to an oval track and his chance to end his rookie season on a very high note.
"The wind made it a little challenging out there for qualifying. The car is really good. People keep asking me how many more poles I can win, but it's not just me. The Sam Schmidt/Lucas Oil guys put together awesome cars for me. A pole award like today's isn't just for me, it's for the team," said Gregg, obviously very proud of the team effort that went into the on-track performance.
Jaime Camara is fifth in points heading and picked up a lot of speed from the early practice session to qualifying.
"We had a little technical trouble with the car in the morning's practice, but we fixed the problem in the second session. The car is good, it's really fast. On my second qualifying lap I tried something different but it didn't work. We should be good for the race tomorrow," said Camara.
Festa, the youngest of Sam Schmidt's rookie trio is sixth in the series standings.
"We are very happy with the car," said Festa. "We got it where we want it for the race and it was a very good qualifying effort for us. We made some big improvements to the car and it should be good for tomorrow's race. We're starting 1-2-3 again, and there's always some comfort in lining up with teammates when you're heading to the green flag."
Owner Sam Schmidt is hoping for a smooth race on Sunday and is hopeful about his chances for a 1-2-3 finish.
"We came to California with nothing to lose, so we have a simple goal - win. Qualifying 1-2-3 obviously keeps us on-target," grinned Schmidt. "We get another shot at a 1-2-3 finish, which I'd love to see. As an owner, yeah, I'll admit, it would thrill me to get that kind of finish, but for the team, it would be a lot of momentum to carry into the off-season. We'll see what we can get tomorrow."
Sunday's 50-lap race begins at 1:15 p.m. (EDT), and will be televised on a tape-delayed basis at 3 p.m. (EDT), on Thursday, October 20th on ESPN2. This race is the final race of the season.