IPS: Indianapolis: Sam Schmidt Motorsports race notes

Camara from Pole to Victory Circle to Third in Points Schmidt Motorsports teams take three of first eight at Indy INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- In front of an excited Carburetion Day crowd at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Sam Schmidt Motorsports'...

Camara from Pole to Victory Circle to Third in Points
Schmidt Motorsports teams take three of first eight at Indy

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- In front of an excited Carburetion Day crowd at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Sam Schmidt Motorsports' four race cars played key roles in the exciting Futaba Freedom 100 on Friday afternoon.

Jaime Camara won the race in front of an enthusiastic crowd and a live national television audience on ESPN-2.

Drama for the Sam Schmidt Motorsports race teams began at the call to start engines and switched back and forth between race cars throughout the 40-lap race. The first issue that came into play was a recurrence of a gremlin that hindered Chris Festa's #19 Spacepak/CareCentric, in St. Petersburg. Travis Gregg, starting outside the front row in the #7 Lucas Oil Special radioed to his crew that his dash wasn't functioning properly. After a few tests of the system during the four parade laps, Gregg and his crew realized it was something he'd have to deal with throughout the race.

"The problems I had with the dash readout took a little bit to get used to, but they didn't really affect my race today. We had a little bit of trouble with downforce, which hurt us on the straightaways," explained Gregg. "I think we got all we could get from the car today. I wish the Lucas Oil guests would've seen a better race, but we just couldn't get the car up to the speeds we needed."

Gregg finished sixth, two spots ahead of teammate Festa, who took the checkered flag in eighth place.

"We had a good race today. Anytime you can pick up that many spots from where you start to where you finish, it's a good day," smiled Festa, who just the day before had been deflated by fuel pump issues that ruined his qualifying effort. "We probably had a third-place car today. If the cautions would've fallen earlier in the race, I think they could've helped me with enough track position to get me to third. They didn't, so what matters now is that we're off to Texas with what we learned and I'm really excited to get out there and go for the win."

Behind Festa in the finishing order was Tom Wood, who despite some troubles, had a really good day behind the wheel and finished 12th .

"It's my first race back, and I'm happy. We finished the race, we had a great-handling race car, and I feel great. It's nice to be back in a race car," said Wood. "We had some fuel pressure issues early on, then ended up with a flat tire from the debris in the last crash, but all in all, it was a good day for us."

Camara, 24, of Miami, brought lots of friends and family from his hometown Goinas, Brazil, to Victory Circle for a big celebration after he defeated Wade Cunningham.

"Wade is a great racer and he was very fun to race with today. He got around me at the start because I didn't have a good start - I wasn't in the right gear. But I was able to get around him. We had a lot of fun passing for the lead today," smiled Camara.

Camara had lots of chances for lots of fun, with six of the seven lead changes between Camara and Cunningham. Unofficially there were many, many more lead changes between the two before Camara eventually established dominance.

"It was a great day for our team. Jaime really did well today. He started off with a bad start at the green flag, then drove a very smart race. We had some problems with understeer on Travis' car which kept him from being more competitive and all we needed for Chris was better track position - he had a great car today," said Sam Schmidt. "I'm very proud of our teams' efforts this weekend."

Proud, and maybe comfortable - Schmidt has done the Victory Circle celebration two years in a row at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with two Brazilian drivers in a row winning the race from the pole position.

Camara's victory vaulted him to third in the point standings with 129, Gregg fell to second with 138 and Festa dropped one spot to sixth with 108 points. Cunningham assumed the points lead with 147 points.

The next Menards Infiniti Pro Series race is at Texas Motor Speedway, on Saturday, June 11, and will air Thursday, June 16th on ESPN-2 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern.

-ssm-

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Sam Schmidt , Tom Wood , Chris Festa , Travis Gregg , Wade Cunningham , Jaime Camara