JUNE 17, 2005


Déjà vu for Sam Schmidt Motorsports at Indy

Cars qualify in identical positions to St. Pete


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Sam Schmidt Motorsports racers will have to race their way to the front of the field as the team missed a three-peat of the front row and lined up in identical positions for the Liberty Challenge at the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway to the team's starting grid positions at the first road course race of the season, St. Petersburg, Fla.


Jamie Camara again led the team's qualifying effort.  He qualified fifth for Saturday's race in his #1 CELG/Goias, Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry, turning a lap of 1:27.3720 (107.128 miles per hour) in front of thousands of F1 race fans. Chris Festa will start sixth in his #19 Western Union/CareCentric, Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry after a lap of 1:27.4560 (107.025). Gregg starts ninth in his #7 Lucas Oil Special, Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry with a qualifying lap of 1:28.6350 (105.602).


Marco Andretti won his second road course pole with a lap of 1:06.2360 (108.539 miles per hour).


For Gregg, it'll be his first start outside the front row since St. Petersburg.  The Camden, Ohio, native, who is making his ninth career start in the series'sixth race of 2005, admits a driver can get spoiled by always starting on the front row.


"At Texas, I even talked about how spoiled I am with always starting on the front row on oval tracks," smiled Gregg. "I gained a lot of time from the first qualifying session to the second, and I avoided the biggest challenge − running off into the gravel.  If you ran into the gravel, basically, you lost your car for the entire practice session because they pulled it behind the wall where your crew couldn't work on it.  So, you wanted to be aggressive today, but you wanted to keep it out of the gravel so your session wouldn't be done early." 


Camara, a 24-year-old Brazilian native living in Miami, had a lot to smile about after qualifying. His final run was cut short by the end of the practice session, but Camara saw enough from his race car to know it is very capable of doing well in the race.


"The course was very slick when we first began practice," Camara grinned when his early off-track excursion was mentioned. "We slid off course and ran through the gravel, but, luckily, we didn't get stuck or do any damage.  The car is really good. It's gonna be a really good race tomorrow because we are starting so far back and we have a really good shot to go to the front."


Festa, the 19-year-old driver from Atlanta who enters his second year at Florida State University this fall, was the only Menards Infiniti Pro Series driver to keep his car on the pavement, going in the correct direction, all day.


"Yeah, I guess we were the only car that didn't test the gravel traps today," Festa said. "We really wanted to qualify better, but we just ran out of time to make changes to the understeer out of the car.  We had an awesome setup in the test session here earlier this year, and I'm looking forward to getting the car closer to that setup.  If we can get there, we'll be very fast in the race."


Saturday's 25-lap race begins at 5:45 p.m. (EDT), and will be televised on a tape-delayed basis at 5 p.m. (EDT), on June 21st on ESPN2.



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