IPS: Gregg nabs Kentucky pole

Travis Gregg can look back over the past year and find that he's in the same place he was in his Menards Infiniti Pro Series debut, on pole. The 27-year-old Ohioan was fortunate to get a late draw in the 11-car qualifying order for tomorrow ...

Travis Gregg can look back over the past year and find that he's in the same place he was in his Menards Infiniti Pro Series debut, on pole.

The 27-year-old Ohioan was fortunate to get a late draw in the 11-car qualifying order for tomorrow afternoon's Bluegrass 100 on the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway tri-oval and parlayed his good fortune into a quick lap of 187.962mph.

"I have to pinch myself," Gregg exclaimed after exiting his #7 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone machine. "Because of the late draw I got to see what others were running. The track is so different this year," he explained. "It was 66 degrees out when I got pole here in 2004 and it's 98 degrees this afternoon.

"The tires are different from last year," Gregg said after securing his fifth career pole and fourth this year. Seventh in the combined practice sessions held earlier in the afternoon, Gregg was able to pull more speed in sixth gear using the high line, where he was limited to using fifth before.

"I couldn't do that in practice but we changed the balance of the car. We didn't have enough grip at the front, so we raised the car, got less downforce and more speed out of it."

Teammate Jaime Camara stats second after turning 186.299mph right before Gregg took his qualifying run, giving Sam Schmidt Motorsports its sixth 1-2 start in nine races. The Brazilian had been quickest in the first practice and was second overall.

Jay Drake will do double-duty again tomorrow from third grid slot (185.710mph) tomorrow afternoon. Once the Pro Series race is done, the Californian heads southwest to Salem, Indiana for a both a USAC National Midget Series and Sprint Car Series event.

Since the Pro Series contest doesn't start until 3PM EDT, Drake has to battle logistical details as he drives down I-71 toward the Louisville area. "I should be able to make it by qualifying," Drake suggested. "The worst case [scenario] is that I'm going to miss practice."

Nick Bussell, who moved to the Vision Racing team at Nashville secured fourth on the grid with his lap of 185.561mph. He said his car "has been good and we did a qualifying simulation earlier. The car's solid and the speed has been there. In fact," Bussell mused, "everything we've done has been pretty good."

Contesting only his second oval contest in the 2005 Menards Infiniti Pro Series, Marco Andretti secured fifth starting spot with his lap of 185.019mph. "We did a bunch of little changes and Tony [Cicale] and I are working pretty good together. I'm happy with the time because we had a lot of understeer in practice." Marco was eighth in the combined practice tally.

Jon Herb starts sixth, while Chris Festa holds seventh grid spot. Points leader Wade Cunningham starts eighth and former Kentucky winner Jeff Simmons holds ninth. Marty Roth starts tenth and Arie Luyendyk Jr., who was the caboose in practice brings up the rear of the field.

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Series Indy Lights
Drivers Jon Herb , Sam Schmidt , Marty Roth , Marco Andretti , Jay Drake , Nick Bussell , Chris Festa , Travis Gregg , Wade Cunningham , Jaime Camara , Arie Luyendyk Jr.