IPS: Milwaukee: Sam Schmidt Motorsports preview

Sam Schmidt Motorsports Takes on 100+ Years of History Rookies Camara, Festa and Gregg Like Their Chances The Milwaukee Mile has been a fixture in automobile racing since the track opened in 1903. It bears the legend of the oldest ...

Sam Schmidt Motorsports Takes on 100+ Years of History
Rookies Camara, Festa and Gregg Like Their Chances

The Milwaukee Mile has been a fixture in automobile racing since the track opened in 1903. It bears the legend of the oldest operating racetrack, and Sam Schmidt Motorsports is excited to take on the history of the flat, one-mile oval.

Travis Gregg, a 27 year-old Midwesterner from Camden, Ohio, drives Schmidt's #7 Lucas Oil Special. He holds second in the point standings with 237 points. Gregg, who does backflips in celebration of his race wins, has three pole positions (Miami, Phoenix, Texas), two victories (Miami, Texas) and has led 154 laps in the MIPS this season.

Jaime Camara, 24, a Brazilian native residing in Miami, Fla., led the test session at Milwaukee and sits just three points behind Gregg in the standings in third with 234 points. Driving Schmidt's #1 CELG, Goias entry, Camara has two pole positions (Nashville, Indianapolis), two outside pole positions (Homestead, Phoenix), two wins (Nashville, Indianapolis) and one runner-up finish this season (Homestead).

Chris Festa, 19, of Atlanta, Ga, the youngest of Schmidt's drivers is fourth in the series standings with 204 points. Festa led his first MIPS lap at Texas, where he qualified second. He has one runner-up finish at Phoenix and 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

Here are some thoughts from the drivers and owner going into Milwaukee:

SAM SCHMIDT, Owner, Sam Schmidt Motorsports: "I believe the entire Sam Schmidt Motorsports team is anxious to go to the famous Milwaukee Mile. First of all, there is so much history to be racing on the same track as many motorsports heroes. The track has been used for automobile racing over 100 years and I just wish the walls could talk."

"Also, last year with Thiago Medeiros driving for us, we dominated the race until a mechanical failure with 25 laps to go. We definitely have something to prove there. We showed we've got the speed there, but we didn't wrap it up with a win. Nothing makes us hungrier than letting a near-definite win slip away. We want to get back there to prove the point that we tried to make last year."

CHRIS FESTA, #19 SpacePak, CareCentric, Sam Schmidt Motorsports Entry: "The track is a highly technical track. It's very flat and it has very little banking, which makes it different from anywhere else that we race. We had a very good test, very solid, and we think we have some good things for the car for race weekend."

"I'll have to be much more patient at Milwaukee. The cars don't have the grip that they would normally have with a high-banked oval, which is going to make the drivers exercise a lot of patience with the throttle."

"It's pretty impressive that the track is as old at it is. That race track has seen a ton of racing heritage in so many series over the years."

TRAVIS GREGG, #7 Lucas Oil Special, Sam Schmidt Motorsports Entry: "I'd always kind of thought about Milwaukee as a track that IndyCar and Champ cars ran on, but I didn't really think about the age of the track until we went up there to test. It's amazing the track's older than Indianapolis and it's had such a part of racing history."

"Milwaukee is a tricky track. It's a flat oval, so you can't carry too much speed in through the corners. It should be a close race since it's really a 'driver's track.'

"At the test, we learned what we needed and I really took it easy. I didn't push really hard because two of the top drivers crashed during the test and I didn't want that to be me. I remember racing the Milwaukee Mile on an old video game, and I remember I was pretty familiar with the track's outside retaining wall."

JAIME CAMARA, #1 CELG, Goias, Sam Schmidt Motorsports Entry: "There will be a lot of different rubber on the track when we return to race. We tested after the NASCAR Busch Series and the track had lots of their tire rubber on it, so I know the grip will change when we get back. We'll have IndyCar Series, Silver Crown and USAC all running with us. It will be interesting to see how the track changes."

"I think we were the quickest in the test. It was good because it is a driver's track. You have to be cool and be aggressive at the same time. It's very hard because you want to drive too hard there, but you can't or you'll end up crashing."

"The track has a lot of history, with it being so old. I think anyone that wins here has to consider it a very special win since it's even older than Indy."


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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Sam Schmidt , Chris Festa , Travis Gregg , Jaime Camara , Thiago Medeiros