IPS: Nashville: Sam Schmidt Motorsports race notes

Camara Dominates Nashville Schmidt Motorsports wins, but has up and down race LEBANON, Tenn. -- Sam Schmidt Motorsports' Brazilian driver Jaime Camara collected his second victory of the season in dominating fashion, leading every lap of the ...

Camara Dominates Nashville
Schmidt Motorsports wins, but has up and down race

LEBANON, Tenn. -- Sam Schmidt Motorsports' Brazilian driver Jaime Camara collected his second victory of the season in dominating fashion, leading every lap of the Menards Infiniti Pro Series Cleanevent 100 at Nashville Superspeedway.

The race began with a familiar front row, teammates Camara and Travis Gregg were together again on the front row for the fourth time this season with Camara on the pole and Gregg starting second. Chris Festa, 19, of Atlanta, Ga., started eighth in the #19 SpacePak/CareCentric Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry.

In the opening laps of the race, Gregg, 27, of Camden, Ohio, fell back through the field. Gregg's car was getting better lap by lap, and a caution flew at lap 50 for debris that pulled him within striking distance of the leaders. Festa, too, fell back during the early stages of the race, but worked his way up to his finish position of seventh. Festa maintains fourth in the points race with 204 points.

While Jaime Camara, 25, a resident of Miami, Fla., kept the #1 CELG/Goias, Sam Schmidt race car ahead of tough challenges from Arie Luyendyk, Jr. and Jeff Simmons, Gregg's day came to a crashing halt on lap 62. In a move to avoid a slow car during the restart following the second caution period of the race, Gregg's #7 Lucas Oil Special, Sam Schmidt Motorsports race car spun through the infield grass and made contact with the inside retaining wall. The wreck ended Gregg's day. He finished 10th, and holds onto second in the points chase with 237 points, just three points ahead of teammate Camara.

Camara's win is his second of the season. He heads to Milwaukee third in the standings with 234 points.

"Yeah! This is great!" shouted Camara following his win. "This was the toughest race this year. It was a very physical race. I'm so excited to win. There were many challenges today, but my engineer gave me a good car and he kept giving me good advice during the race, so I knew we could win if we could stay in front. We had a little contact in the race with the second-place car, but it didn't hurt either car, we both finished in the same places, first and second. I don't play guitar, but I'm very happy with the Gibson guitar I got for a trophy. I have a wall that will be perfect for it."

Festa, a student at Florida State University, had a tough day fighting an ill-handling race car, but his spirits are high heading into Milwaukee.

"It was a long day, we had to work with the chassis throughout the race, but we were able to keep the car out of trouble and maintain our position in the points. We tested at Milwaukee, so we are all looking forward to a better race there," said Festa. "I had a lot of family and friends here at the track today, and of course I wanted to get a better finish for them. We're all just happy the car is in good shape and ready to go next weekend."

Gregg, who lost 12 points to the leader in the championship standings this week, had a car that came alive after halfway in the race, but ended up in the garage before the race was over.

"I had to fall back at the beginning of the race, I didn't want to get into an aggressive battle for the lead that early in the race," said Gregg. "The car wasn't very fast at the beginning, but as the laps rolled by, the car got a lot quicker. When I worked back into fourth position, I was pretty confident I could at least get to second place, but one of the cars in front of me had trouble getting up to speed following the restart on lap 61. I tried to slow down and work my way around him, but I ended up getting in the grass and the inside wall just after turn one. I'm glad we're still second in the championship standings, but I know those 12 points will be hard to get back."

Sam Schmidt had mixed emotions discussing his team's performance.

"Jaime drove a strong race today. He did a good job of working with his bar and weight jacker and listening to his engineer to stay in front and dominate today," said Schmidt. "We didn't test here, and that probably hurt us overall. We tested at Milwaukee, so I look for Chris and Travis to have a lot stronger runs there and with any luck, we'll catch a positive break in the points chase. One out of three isn't bad, but I'm a racer, I want all my guys to win -- since they can't do that all at once, then I'd really like to see a 1-2-3 finish before the season's over."

Saturday's Cleanevent 100 will be televised by ESPN2 on Thursday, July 21st at 3 p.m. Eastern.

The next Menards Infiniti Pro Series race is Sunday, July 24th at The Milwaukee Mile, a flat one-mile oval boasting more than 100 years of racing history.

-samschmidtmotorsports

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