IPS: Texas: Sam Schmidt Motorsports preview

Holding Three of Top Five Points Spots Sam Schmidt Motorsports Rookie Drivers Ready for Fast Texas Weekend A spot that Sam Schmidt Motorsports has found familiar this season is that of defending race champion. This is the case heading ...

Holding Three of Top Five Points Spots Sam Schmidt Motorsports Rookie Drivers Ready for Fast Texas Weekend

A spot that Sam Schmidt Motorsports has found familiar this season is that of defending race champion. This is the case heading into Saturday's race at Texas Motor Speedway. Last fall, Sam Schmidt Motorsports collected the top two spots in qualifying and drivers Thiago Medeiros and Travis Gregg still held those same positions when the checkered flag waved.

Travis Gregg, who drives Schmidt's #7 Lucas Oil Special, wants to improve on last year's second-place effort and regain control of the championship points lead. Gregg is second in the standings with 138 points, just nine out of the lead. At 27 years of age, the native of Camden, Ohio, has two pole positions (Miami and Phoenix), one victory (Miami) and has led 88 laps this season.

Chris Festa, 19, is tied for fifth in the standings with 108 points. He has one runner-up finish at Phoenix. Festa is from Atlanta, Ga., and is a rising sophomore at Florida State University. He drives Schmidt's #19 SpacePak, CareCentric entry. Festa takes a studious approach to his racing experience with Sam Schmidt Motorsports and looks at every situation as a learning opportunity -- he hopes what he's learned at Homestead and Indianapolis will translate to a smooth, fast race at Texas.

Jaime Camara, 24, is a Brazilian native living in Miami, Fla., and following last month's win at Indianapolis, he jumped to third in the standings with 129 points. Driving Schmidt's #1 CELG, Goias entry, Camara has one pole position (Indianapolis), two outside pole positions (Homestead, Phoenix) and was the team's highest qualifier at St. Petersburg (fifth). Camara has one win (Indianapolis) and one runner-up finish this season (Homestead).

P.J. Abbott, who lives in Grand Prairie, Tex., will make his return to the Menards Infiniti Pro Series with Sam Schmidt Motorsports. Abbott last drove for Sam Schmidt in the 2004 season at California Speedway, starting 15th and finishing seventh.

Sam Schmidt Motorsports is also a means of promoting and publicizing the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation. The Foundation (www.samschmidt.org) helps individuals overcome spinal cord injuries and other neurological disorders by funding scientific research, medical treatment, rehabilitation and technological advances. This research also benefits stroke victims and people diagnosed with ALS, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. The Foundation also addresses quality of life issues benefiting people with paralysis and other disabilities through its national Day at the Races programs and works tirelessly promoting advocacy concerns.

Schmidt's rookie lineup is very excited about the speeds and adventure of racing at Texas. Here is what the drivers and owner Schmidt had to say going into Indianapolis:

SAM SCHMIDT, Owner, Sam Schmidt Motorsports:

"It's great to be going to one of my personal favorite tracks as a driver, Texas Motor Speedway. I loved it as a racer, and as a car owner, I've found a lot of success. We qualified and finished first and second there in the fall, and our goal is to improve on that. We'd like to own positions one through four.

"Also, it is rewarding to be running a fourth car this weekend with P.J. Abbott. I know this is considered his home track and hopefully he will have a good weekend."

TRAVIS GREGG, #7 Lucas Oil Special, Sam Schmidt Motorsports Entry:

"I raced at Texas Motor Speedway last year with Sam and had a great weekend. I qualified on the outside pole and finished second in my third start.

"Last time at Texas, I spent a lot of time with the nose of my car under the gearbox of my teammate's car, trying to figure out how to get around him. This year, maybe I'll be the teammate the other guys want to pass.

"Texas is a great track. The track has a lot of banking which allows us to drive in the corners two and three wide. There should be some very close racing."

CHRIS FESTA, #19 SpacePak, CareCentric, Sam Schmidt Motorsports Entry:

"This is a new track for me. It's the place where I first met Sam Schmidt. I'm very excited about racing there. It looks like it will be very fast.

"I've learned a lot about racing on the speedways at Homestead and at Indianapolis. I'm looking forward to applying that to the race at Texas.

"My hopes are for a great qualifying effort and strong finish to get back into the points chase. I'm looking forward to the race weekend."

JAIME CAMARA, #1 CELG, Goias, Sam Schmidt Motorsports Entry:

"Last year, I came to Texas Motor Speedway to see the race. This was one of the few races I came and watched from the pit wall--so I've had some contact with the track--I thought it was awesome! I am looking forward to racing there.

"I think Texas is one of the best tracks of the season, the 24-degree banking must make it a cool track to drive. Our car has been fast everywhere so far, and I think we have a good shot at the front there, too."

-ssm-

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Sam Schmidt , Chris Festa , Travis Gregg , Jaime Camara , P.J. Abbott