IPS: Kentucky: Sam Schmidt Motorsports race notes

Gregg Performs 'Brush and Win' for Hometown Crowd Schmidt Motorsports Gains a Little Ground in Points Chase SPARTA, Ken. -- Sam Schmidt Motorsports finished what it started at Kentucky Speedway last year. Travis Gregg of nearby Camden, Ohio, ...

Gregg Performs 'Brush and Win' for Hometown Crowd
Schmidt Motorsports Gains a Little Ground in Points Chase

SPARTA, Ken. -- Sam Schmidt Motorsports finished what it started at Kentucky Speedway last year. Travis Gregg of nearby Camden, Ohio, made his debut with Schmidt last season at Kentucky, winning the pole and leading 57 of the 67 laps. This year, Gregg sealed the deal. After starting from the pole and autographing the turn two wall with his right side tires, Gregg led all of the 67 laps to win in front of a lot of his hometown friends and family.

Gregg's victory in the #7 Lucas Oil Special/Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry pushed him back up to second in the championship battle with 314 points.

Jaime Camara, a Brazilian who now lives in Miami, Fla., started on the outside of the front row, and spent a lot of the race in the top five. Late in the race, Camara brushed the turn two wall and fell back to a ninth-place finish in the #1 CELG/Goias Sam Schmidt Motorsports. Camara is now third in the championship points race with 289 points.

Chris Festa's car was possibly good for a second-place finish. After working diligently with his crew throughout the weekend, Festa showed veteran prowess, starting seventh and being part of some of the best racing on track for fifth position during the early stages of the race with Wade Cunningham and Jeff Simmons. The 19-year-old from Atlanta, Ga., took the checkered flag in ninth place, which slid him to seventh in points with 246.

"I didn't say a lot on the radio," smiled Gregg after completing his traditional victory-backflip at the start/finish line. "I remember my engineer asking me how I was doing and I said 'I'm doing fine' and that was about it. When we went under caution, I told them I'd hit the wall when I was lapping Arie (Luyendyk, Jr.) and I told them I thought the car was OK. They told me to keep doing what I was doing, so I did. I can't even describe how great it is to win in front of so many from my hometown. It's awesome, and my dad got to watch the whole race from the pits. After our struggles at Milwaukee, the win feels great for me and the Lucas Oil team, and it came at a great place for Sam because he had a lot of Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation guests at the track today."

Festa, a student at Florida State University, had a much better car than his finish showed.

"The racing out there today was incredible! I had a great time running with Wade and Jeff, I have a lot of respect for those guys and that's the kind of racing I really enjoy - being in an all out battle for the so much of the race," said Festa. "The caution fell at the wrong time for us to get up to the front, but if everything would've worked out right today, I'm pretty confident we would've finished second in the #19 SpacePak/CareCentric car."

Camara had trouble with a push in his race car, and a trip to visit the turn two wall.

"My car was pushing today. I tried to work with it to get it to handle better, but the changes I could make in the car didn't fix the push," said Camara. "I think we were going to get a top five, but my car jumped out of line near the end of the race and I hit the turn two wall. I was able to keep the car going and hang on until the end of the race, but after the brush with the wall, I just didn't have enough left in the car to gain any positions."

While Sam Schmidt celebrated his team's victory he kept his mind on the bigger victory he's chasing, a repeat in the points championship.

"Travis ran a very good race. I'm glad he could get the win he almost had here at Kentucky last year," said Schmidt. "Festa had an awesome car today, we just needed track position for him. If we did pit stops in this series, maybe we could've worked with Jaime's car to get him a better finish. We didn't make up as much ground on Wade in the points chase as I would've liked to see, but we'll take it. Overall, the trip was a good weekend, we had a solid turnout for our trackside Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation guests, despite the tremendous heat, and we're heading to Pikes Peak with another pole award and another win to our credit."

Saturday's 67-lap race will be televised on a tape-delayed basis on ESPN 2 at 5 p.m. (EDT), on August 18th.

The next Menards Infiniti Pro Series race is the 10th of the 14-race season. The Pikes Peak 100 will be held on Sunday, August 21st at Pikes Peak International Raceway, the one-mile oval located just outside Colorado Springs, Col.

-ssm

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Sam Schmidt , Jeff Simmons , Chris Festa , Travis Gregg , Wade Cunningham , Jaime Camara