Front Row Pals Gregg, Camara Return to Power Sam Schmidt Motorsports Owns Front Row At Nashville LEBANON, Tenn. -- Sam Schmidt Motorsports racers took to Friday's qualifying session for the Cleanevent 100 at Nashville Superspeedway, determined...
Front Row Pals Gregg, Camara Return to Power
Sam Schmidt Motorsports Owns Front Row At Nashville
LEBANON, Tenn. -- Sam Schmidt Motorsports racers took to Friday's qualifying session for the Cleanevent 100 at Nashville Superspeedway, determined to regain their ownership of the front row. Jaime Camara and Travis Gregg, the team's fastest entry through the day's practice sessions and the team's slowest entry, respectively, locked down starting spots one and two.
After a strong run in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series first round practice, Jaime Camara struggled with the #1 CELG/Goias Sam Schmidt Motorsports race car during the second practice. The woes were forgotten when he took to the track and won the pole position with a lap time of 26.1362 seconds (179.062 miles per hour). Travis Gregg did his best to unseat his teammate and steal the pole again, but he missed by just less than three-hundredths of a second. Gregg starts second in the #7 Lucas Oil Special Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry after his lap of 26.1651 (178.864 MPH). Atlanta, Ga., native Chris Festa qualified the #19 SpacePak/CareCentric Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry eighth with a lap time of 26.6426 (175.659 MPH).
Camara, a 24-year-old Brazilian native living in Miami, smiled with relief after qualifying. He worried that teammate Gregg might be able to take the pole from him as he had done at Phoenix, Homestead and, along with his other teammate Festa, had done at Texas.
"I was just so nervous when Travis was on the track," Camara said, unable to keep from smiling. "I ran good laps, but I still made some mistakes so I was worried that Travis could make up time where I had lost it. This is so good for our team. We had a good practice session this morning, and then the track felt kind of different when we went out for our second session. My engineer made the right changes and told me what to do and I did it. I'm very excited to have my teammate starting outside on the front row with me. It's great because we have respect for each other and we know we will race very clean. I'm ready for the race. I want to win the guitar (track trophy)."
For Gregg, the start of the race will be comfortable. He is hoping the end of the race will be a fun battle with his teammate for the win.
"We tried out a lot of different changes during practice to see what our car would be like in different conditions. When it came time to qualify, I knew what had to be done, I just put the pedal to the floor and trusted that the car would stick. I know this is an opportunity for me to make ground or lose ground in the points race, and getting a good starting spot is a big part of the battle. It's great to know I'm starting up front with my teammate, hopefully we can race together like Chris and I did at Texas. I'm excited about the race and I'm looking forward to a strong finish for the Lucas Oil Special," said Gregg.
Festa, the 19-year-old driver who will enter his second year at Florida State University this fall, is anxious to get the race started after today's on-track sessions.
"My crew teased me that I'm just trying to get another FedEx Hard Charger award," smiled Festa. "I can't get that award if I start on the pole and win, that's for sure, but I'm pretty sure I'd like to add an SWE Pole Award to my credit sometime soon! I know I left a lot out there when I made my laps, I know where I missed some things and I'm ready to get out there in the race to show what I can do here. Nashville Superspeedway is a tricky track. I've learned a lot about concrete oval racing today and I'm looking forward to putting it to use tomorrow to make up some more spots in the points race -- if I get a hard charger award for it, that'll be fine, too."
Owner Sam Schmidt is anxious to see how the weekend turns out for his race team.
"After today's practice sessions, we were pretty confident that Jaime's car could win the pole. Travis did an awesome job out there, basically he didn't breath for his two laps and just drove it flat out, but we have a lot of work to do to get Travis and Chris' cars where they need to be for the race. Our team has a lot of good experiences here at Nashville and we're looking forward to good things tomorrow."
Saturday's 77-lap race begins at 4:45 p.m. (EDT), and will be televised on a tape-delayed basis at 3 p.m. (EDT), on July 21st on ESPN2.