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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Sam Schmidt Schweeps!

First 1-2-3 Start In Infiniti Pro Series History;

Gregg, Camara, Festa Qualify At Front

March 18, 2005

AVONDALE, Ariz. - Sam Schmidt Motorsports became the first team in Menards Infiniti Pro Series history to sweep the first three starting spots Friday at the one-mile Phoenix International Raceway.

 

With Travis Gregg keeping a personal streak alive and leading the way, he was joined by teammate Jaime Camara on the front row for Sunday's Phoenix 100. Schmidt's third car, driven by Chris Festa, will start third.

 

"Guess they're going to have to start making the front row wider," laughed team owner Schmidt, a former winning Indy Racing League driver who was paralyzed from the shoulders down following a crash in practice at Orlando, Fla., just over five years ago.

 

PHOENIX 100 QUALIFYING MENARDS INFINITI PRO SERIES RESULTS
Pos No Driver Name Best Time Best Speed Best Lap Total Laps
1 7 Travis Gregg 23.0334 156.295 1 2
2 1 Jaime Camara 23.1695 155.377 2 2
3 19 Chris Festa 23.2100 155.106 2 2
4 6 Jon Herb 23.3990 153.853 2 2
5 20 Jay Drake 23.5005 153.188 2 2
6 24 Jeff Simmons 23.5913 152.599 2 2
7 4 Marty Roth 23.6495 152.223 2 2
8 5 Arie Luyendyk Jr. 23.6982 151.910 2 2
9 33 Wade Cunningham 23.8979 150.641 2 2
10 3 Al Unser 24.4189 147.427 2 2
11 21 Nick Bussell 24.5214 146.811 2 2
12 36 P.J. Chesson 0.0000 0.000 0 0
13 27 G.J. Mennen 0.0000 0.000 0 0
14 91 Mishael Abbott 0.0000 0.000 0 0
15 11 Scott Mayer 0.0000 0.000 0 0

 

Gregg won the pole for the season-opener two weeks ago at Homestead, Fla. With Friday's qualifying effort, he now has three poles and two outside starts in his five career starts in the Infiniti Pro Series. Gregg led every lap of the Homestead race with teammate Camara, who started on the outside pole at Homestead too, running second every lap. The pair built an 11-second lead by halfway before a caution bunched the field; they beat the third-place car by almost seven seconds.

 

"It didn't really look like it was going to be that good of a day for our car," said Gregg, a Camden, Ohio, native. "I was figuring Jamie or Chris would end up leading the way for us. Our speeds in the practice sessions just weren't where we wanted them to be."

 

Gregg said the team made a few changes prior to qualifying but he also had a talk with himself.

 

"I did change my driving style a little bit," he said. "I got mad at myself a little bit. Maybe that made me drive a little harder. Still, I was as surprised as anybody when they said we had won the pole."

 

Camara, a Brazilian native living in Miami, Fla., was smiling after his second consecutive outside pole run.

 

"Phoenix is a good track for me. It's tricky but I'm looking forward to the race," Camara said. "We tested here and all three of us tested pretty well. We felt we would have a good shot at winning the pole and maybe even a shot at the first two or even first three.

 

"The car is pretty good. We'll look at some different things for the race but I believe we have a pretty good start right now," he added.

 

Festa, a 19-year-old native of Atlanta, Ga., who is a freshman at Florida State University, was pleased with his run as well.

 

"The car was good. It felt pretty good all of the way around," he said. "I'm really happy for Travis and Jaime, and everybody at Sam Schmidt Motorsports. This is a pretty big day for Sam and everybody associated with our teams.

 

"We had a few additional fans today, too, which was really great," he added.

 

Schmidt's Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation and Andretti-Green Racing hosted approximately 75 people with spinal cord injuries at a "Day At The Races" event. The group from three organizations - Joni and Friends, Arizona Spinal Cord Association and Good Samaritan Rehabilitation Hospital - toured the speedway, were the guests of Andretti-Green Racing for lunch, and met various drivers, including the Sam Schmidt Motorsports drivers.

 

"It is really important for people to see that life continues after a spinal cord injury, and it can continue pretty well, regardless of your circumstances," said Schmidt. "There is hope. That's what the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation is all about - continuing to work to help people overcome injuries that today might look overwhelming. There have been tremendous strides, amazing strides, made in treating spinal cord injuries in just the past few years. While that research and work continues, we want all of those affected to know there is hope for the future."

 

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.

 

 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:  Williams Company of America, Inc.  (704) 660-0796