IPS: Travis Gregg debuts at Kentucky, earns pole

Travis Gregg earned the pole position for Saturday's Kentucky 100 Menards Infiniti Pro Series race at the Kentucky Speedway. With two tests under his belt, one at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and one here at Kentucky Speedway in May, Gregg rolled...

Travis Gregg earned the pole position for Saturday's Kentucky 100 Menards Infiniti Pro Series race at the Kentucky Speedway. With two tests under his belt, one at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and one here at Kentucky Speedway in May, Gregg rolled off the Sam Schmidt Motorsports transporter for his first Pro Series race and promptly set the fastest lap in the first practice session.

After watching his teammate Thiago Medeiros, who was the last driver in the qualifying line, complete his run; the 26-year-old Camden, Ohio resident displayed a huge grin. "I'm speechless," said Gregg, when asked about earning the pole in his first event. Unable to force words through the huge grin, Gregg finally managed, "I had a great car," and thanked his crew.

Gregg competed in SCCA Formula Atlantic competition as early as age 17 and earned a chance to compete in the SCCA Nationals at Mid-Ohio, where he finished second in 1998. Most recently, Gregg competed in the ultra competitive world of 410 sprint cars where he notched two victories in a non-winged car at Lawrenceburg Speedway in southern Indiana.

Since 1962, the Gregg family has owned a kart track in Ohio, giving Travis the opportunity to begin his racing career in karts at age 7.

Gregg was the only driver to break the 190 mph barrier in practice and qualifying. His qualifying speed of 190.398 mph was a tick faster than his best practice lap.

Thiago Medeiros, who has earned five poles this season, will start second. "We were stronger in the draft than by ourselves," said Medeiros. "We'll see what we can do tomorrow. It's a long race and I have more experience, so we'll see how that goes."

Arie Luyendyk has switched from the Sam Schmidt Motorsports stable and will complete the 2004 season with Gary Peterson's AFS Racing. Peterson, who has competed off and on in the Pro Series, expects to join Luyendyk in a second team car at Pikes Peak. Testing at Kentucky made a difference for the team as Luyendyk was fast in both practice sessions, setting the second fastest lap overall, prior to qualifying.

"We tested here last week and the car was fast right away," said Luyendyk. "We've tried some things but we keep arriving back at the same point where we're fast in traffic and fast by ourselves. I may not get the pole, but I'll have a great car for the race tomorrow."

Paul Dana and Al Unser round out the top five qualifiers.

P. J. Chesson, who won the last Pro Series event at Michigan International Speedway two weeks ago, qualified seventh. "We made a lot of progress through the first two practice sessions, but unfortunately had too much downforce in the car for our qualifying run. We have a good race car, I just wish we were further up the grid for the race tomorrow."

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