Packing Lofty Goals, Strong Track Record, Sam Schmidt Motorsports Readies for Chicagoland With three rookies wheeling his Menards Infiniti Pro Series race cars, Sam Schmidt still holds hope that his team can repeat as the series champions.
Packing Lofty Goals, Strong Track Record, Sam Schmidt Motorsports Readies for Chicagoland
With three rookies wheeling his Menards Infiniti Pro Series race cars, Sam Schmidt still holds hope that his team can repeat as the series champions. Trailing in the title chase by 33 points, Schmidt's three-car team is packed and ready to roar at a track where they hold the series qualifying and race records.
Travis Gregg, a 27-year-old from Camden, Ohio, drives Schmidt's #7 Lucas Oil Special. He raced for Sam Schmidt at Chicagoland last season - he qualified second. Gregg, who does backflips in celebration of his race wins, has five pole positions (Miami, Phoenix, Texas, Kentucky, Pikes Peak), three victories (Miami, Texas, Kentucky) and has led 222 laps in the MIPS this season. Gregg is second in the championship standings with 378 points.
Jaime Camara, 24, a Brazilian native residing in Miami, Fla., is fifth in the standings with 329 points. Driving Schmidt's #1 CELG, Goias entry, Camara has three pole positions (Indianapolis, Nashville, Milwaukee), three outside pole positions (Homestead, Phoenix, Kentucky), and two wins (Indianapolis, Nashville).
Chris Festa, 19, of Atlanta, Ga, the youngest of Schmidt's drivers, is sixth in the series standings with 304 points. Festa led his first MIPS lap at Texas, where he qualified second. His best finish this year was second at Phoenix. He also has two third place finishes (Indianapolis road course and Texas). The teenager drives Schmidt's #19 SpacePak, CareCentric entry and attends classes at Florida State University.
Sam Schmidt Motorsports is also a means of promoting and publicizing the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation. The Foundation was created by Schmidt to help individuals overcome spinal cord injuries and other neurological disorders. Schmidt is currently recovering from serious upper spinal cord injuries suffered in a testing accident on January 6, 2000 while practicing for the season-opening Indy Racing League event at Walt Disney World Speedway in Orlando, Fla. Further information is available at www.samschmidt.org or (317) 236-9999
Racer Magazine announced it will auction a limited production Firestone poster to be signed by all 30 drivers that have won while driving on Firehawk tires. The auction will be held on eBay in October with the proceeds to be split between two key Indy Racing League charities, Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation and CARA Charities.
Here are some thoughts from the drivers and owner heading into the Chicagoland weekend:
SAM SCHMIDT, Owner, Sam Schmidt Motorsports:
"Our Menards Infiniti Pro Series entries have always been strong at Chicagoland and, since many of our team sponsors are based in the area, we hope this year will be no different.
"Obviously we are hoping Travis (Gregg) can have an exceptional weekend and put some pressure on Wade (Cunningham, points leader) for the championship, but we also need our other drivers to be right there with him fighting for the win."
TRAVIS GREGG, #7 Lucas Oil Special, Sam Schmidt Motorsports Entry:
"I raced at Chicagoland last year with Sam. It is a little different than Kentucky and Texas, but it is definitely my kind of track. I expect the whole team to run strong there. We need a win to run down Wade (Cunningham) in the points chase, so that is the goal. To get a repeat championship for Sam would be huge. Being a rookie would make it that much better."
JAIME CAMARA, #1 CELG, Goias, Sam Schmidt Motorsports Entry:
"The Sam Schmidt Motorsports cars have a strong history there, and that seems to translate to good cars for us when we show up at a track where the team has been really strong. Chicagoland could be a good weekend for us to do very well."
CHRIS FESTA, #19 Western Union, CareCentric, Sam Schmidt Motorsports Entry:
"Chicagoland is a cool race track, and we have had pretty good mile and a half cars all year, so I am feeling really good going into Chicago. We have had some stumbles this year up to this point in the season but we are really looking to rectify everything - really go out on the track, put it down and get the momentum we had earlier in the season going again so we can end this year on a strong note."