IPS: Pikes Peak: Sam Schmidt Motorsports race notes

Gregg Finishes Third, Gains a Few More Points Schmidt Motorsports Finishes 3rd, 6th and 9th at Pikes Peak FOUNTAIN, Col. -- Sam Schmidt Motorsports grabbed another pole position at the one-mile oval known as Pikes Peak but finished just short...

Gregg Finishes Third, Gains a Few More Points
Schmidt Motorsports Finishes 3rd, 6th and 9th at Pikes Peak

FOUNTAIN, Col. -- Sam Schmidt Motorsports grabbed another pole position at the one-mile oval known as Pikes Peak but finished just short of the team's best finish on the one-mile circuits this season. Travis Gregg led the team's efforts in Sunday's Pikes Peak 100, starting from the pole and finishing third, while Jeff Simmons collected the win.

Jaime Camara, a Brazilian who now lives in Miami, Fla., started third and slid out of the top five just as his car experienced some engine troubles. Camara finished ninth in the #1 CELG/Goias Sam Schmidt Motorsports and maintained third in the series standings with 311 points.

Chris Festa started sixth in the race. His looked strong in the mid-section of the event but when the checkered flag finally flew in the caution-free 100-lap race, Festa ended right were he began, in sixth place. The finish gave him a one-spot boost in the standings. The 19 year-old from Atlanta, Ga., is now sixth in points with 274.

Gregg's #7 Lucas Oil Special/Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry looked very strong in the early laps, but eventually the handling went away, leaving the Camden, Ohio, driver third at the race's end.

"That was really a long, hard race," said Gregg. "My car started out really strong, but then it kind of developed a little bit of a push. I worked with the bar and weight jacker to adjust the car, and got it handling OK, but then when I needed to get around lap traffic, I couldn't. The Lucas Oil car didn't work well in traffic at all. As the race went on, the car handled worse. I'm just glad we could hang on for a top-three finish and pick up a couple of points in the championship battle."

Festa, a student at Florida State University, drove a smart race, picking up a position in the championship standings.

"We knew going into the race that we didn't have the kind of car we needed for the 100-lap race," said Festa. "I really wanted to pick up points and keep the #19 SpacePak/CareCentric car in good track position throughout the race. The car was really unpredictable in turns three and four, so I just really held on. We did what we needed to do, we picked up a spot in the points, and now we're off to a road race where I'm hoping to get another podium finish."

Camara's day ended early when he had some mechanical trouble with his race car.

"We were loose all through the race," said Camara. "I made every adjustment I could make in the car and it didn't respond to anything - it just stayed loose. I was trying to hang on and then something with the engine let go. We were so good in this morning's warmup, we were the only one's in the same speeds as Simmons. It's pretty disappointing to have a car like that before the race end up going so bad, but it's just something that happens."

Sam Schmidt was hoping to get a one-mile win this season, but quickly turned his focus to the tracks left to be run.

"We're heading into a stretch with two road courses and two oval races," said Schmidt. "We're going to have to stay clean on the road courses and not give back too many of the points we've picked up these last two weeks and we'll have to go for wins in Chicago and Fontana. It's a really tight championship battle this season. I wish we were in the lead, with a comfortable spread over second, but this is really turning out to be a great points battle."

Sunday's 100-lap race will be televised on a tape-delayed basis on ESPN 2 at 3 p.m. (EDT), on Thursday, August 25th.

The next Menards Infiniti Pro Series race is number eleven in the 14-race season. The Sonoma 100 will be held on Sunday, August 28th at Infineon Raceway, the 1.77-mile road course nestled in the hills of wine country outside Sonoma, California.

-ssm-

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