Chris Festa Takes Second At Phoenix

Sam Schmidt Motorsports Three Of Top Five In Points

Saturday Mar 19, 2005

AVONDALE, Ariz. - Chris Festa led the Sam Schmidt Motorsports contingent and finished second to winner Jon Herb in Saturday's Phoenix 100 Menards Infiniti Pro Series race at the one-mile Phoenix International Raceway.

Moving into second place just past halfway in the caution-filled race, Festa did a masterful job of hanging with Herb but not taking unnecessary chances. He was seven-tenths of a second behind the winner at the finish, though he had closed up towards the end.

"He was better in (turns) three and four and I was a little bit better in (turns) one and two," said the 19-year-old Atlanta, Ga., native, who is a freshman at Florida State University. He drives Schmidt's #19 SpacePak, CareCentric entry.

"We had a good run going. I had him in (turns) one and two but he was just really good in (turns) three and four," Festa said. "Working traffic was a factor too. I didn't work it as well as I had hoped.

"Still, it was a good race for us. Unfortunately it wasn't as good for my teammates."

The other two Schmidt cars ran into problems. Travis Gregg, who won the pole in his #7 Lucas Oil Special, led the first part of the race, losing the lead to Herb on a Lap 22 restart. The Camden, Ohio, native finished sixth.

"I just missed a shift," Gregg said of Herb's pass. "Then I got a little loose on that restart, and that wasn't too good."

The front end of Gregg's car was damaged in the Lap 41 incident, and he had to fight the front end handling the rest of the way.

Jaime Camara, who started on the outside pole for the second consecutive week in his #1 CELG, Goias entry, had his car break loose on a Lap 9 restart. Camara, a Brazilian native now living in Miami, Fla., finished 11th.

"I have to look at the video. I'm not sure what happened," Camara said. "I lost traction with the rear wheels, and it just turned from there."

Sam Schmidt Motorsports holds three of the top five spots in the two-race-old Infiniti Pro Series season. Herb leads with 87 points but Gregg is second with 82. Behind third-place Wade Cunningham's 67 points are Festa with 60 and Camara with 59.

Saturday's Phoenix 100 was televised by ESPN-2 and will run on the network, Thursday, March 24, at 3 p.m. Eastern.

The next Menards Infiniti Pro Series race is on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., on Sunday, Apr. 3.

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

Pos No Driver Name Best Time Best Speed Best Lap Total Laps
1 6 Jon Herb 23.8279 151.083 87 90
2 19 Chris Festa 23.8122 151.183 62 90
3 33 Wade Cunningham 23.8692 150.822 28 90
4 5 Arie Luyendyk Jr. 24.1338 149.168 26 89
5 21 Nick Bussell 25.0642 143.631 55 89
6 7 Travis Gregg 23.9658 150.214 32 88
7 11 Scott Mayer 25.1746 143.001 26 87
8 3 Al Unser 24.1833 148.863 28 40
9 91 Mishael Abbott 26.2808 136.982 28 31
10 4 Marty Roth 25.8624 139.198 8 9
11 1 Jaime Camara 35.8878 100.313 1 8
12 24 Jeff Simmons 35.6680 100.931 1 8
13 20 Jay Drake -0.0001 0.000 0 0
14 36 P.J. Chesson -0.0001 0.000 0 0
15 27 G.J. Mennen -0.0001 0.000 0 0