It's Not All About Going Left Sam Schmidt Motorsports Rookie Drivers Set for Series Second Road Course Race Sam Schmidt is a lot of things to IndyCar racing -- besides being a champion of awareness and assistance for fellow paralysis victims,...
It's Not All About Going Left
Sam Schmidt Motorsports Rookie Drivers Set for Series Second Road Course Race
Sam Schmidt is a lot of things to IndyCar racing -- besides being a champion of awareness and assistance for fellow paralysis victims, he is also owner of the defending championship team of the the Menards Infiniti Pro Series. Schmidt has been involved in the series since its inception and is looking forward to the latest adventure and challenge: racing the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The series will be the first to run the oval and the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Travis Gregg, who drives Schmidt's #7 Lucas Oil Special, was the highest finisher among his Sam Schmidt Motorsports teammates at the MIPS first road course event of the season, St. Petersburg. Gregg leads the point standings with 191 points. At 27 years of age, the native of Camden, Ohio, has three pole positions (Miami and Phoenix), two victories (Miami, Texas) and has led 154 laps this season.
Chris Festa, 19, holds fifth in the standings with 143 points. He has one runner-up finish at Phoenix and led his first lap in the MIPS at Texas, taking the lead from teammate Gregg for one lap. Festa is from Atlanta, Ga., and is a freshman at Florida State University. He drives Schmidt's #19 SpacePak, CareCentric entry. Festa really looks forward to the road course races--he grew up with a fondness for them from watching his dad race them in SCCA.
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 151 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).
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
Schmidt's rookie lineup is very excited about the speeds and adventure of racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course. Here is what the drivers and owner Schmidt had to say going into Indianapolis:
SAM SCHMIDT, Owner, Sam Schmidt Motorsports:
"The road course preparation is really a test for every team, because we don't have huge staffing like the IRL teams The parts' changeover from oval to road course is at least one full day, per car -- if you haven't torn something up at Texas - and it is the weekend immediately following a pretty big race. Having said that, I think every team is really excited about having two races at the most famous track in the world and being a part of an F1 weekend. It doesn't matter that it is a road course event, everyone will want to win this race, just like the Futaba Freedom 100."
TRAVIS GREGG, #7 Lucas Oil Special, Sam Schmidt Motorsports Entry:
"The Indy road course is a first-class track. Since we are racing the same weekend as F1 it will be very exciting, especially with all the international fans watching the event. At the open test for the road course things went well, and hopefully we will be stronger for the race. There are many drivers in the series with more road course experience than I have, so it's my goal to steer clear of trouble and get a top five finish.
"The international aspect adds a new element, especially for me. The one thing I've learned is that cheers sound the same, even though the words are different a lot of the time. Boos are universal, though -- and hopefully directed at someone else."
CHRIS FESTA, #19 SpacePak, CareCentric, Sam Schmidt Motorsports Entry:
"The road courses are what I've always raced and what I've always enjoyed, so I am a bigger fan of the road courses. There is just a different-type challenge there and I really enjoy that. Indianapolis Motor Speedway's road course is my favorite of all the road courses I've ever driven. Road Atlanta was my favorite until we tested Indy - Indy's track is much more technical. It takes a long time to recover from a mistake in a corner there. You have to know when to go slow and when to push. It's more of a driver's road course than any I've ever driven."
JAIME CAMARA, #1 CELG, Goias, Sam Schmidt Motorsports Entry:
"It's gonna be nice to return to Indianapolis [after winning the Futaba Freedom 100 there in May]. It's gonna be different because the Formula 1 rubber is different than what we are used to so we should have more grip on the track. I'll do my best there and hopefully we can fight for the win. It's very different because it's [a] low downforce track. The car's more free, you have got to be very careful but at the same time you have to be aggressive, so it's very hard."