OCTOBER 16, 2005


Gregg, Festa Get Schmidt Two More Top Fives

Sam Schmidt Motorsports Ends Season 3rd, 4th, 8th and 10th


FONTANA, Calif. - For the third time the Sam Schmidt Motorsports rookie drivers lined up 1-2-3 on the starting grid.  Heading into the race, expectations were so high, Jaime Camara, Chris Festa and Travis Gregg jogged to their cars following driver introductions.  When the checkered flag signaled the end of the California 100 and the 2005 Menards Infiniti Pro Series season, the Schmidt racers nabbed two more top-five finishes and all cars were in the top 10. 


The 2005 series champion Wade Cunningham took the victory, his first Menards Infiniti Pro Series win.


Gregg led his teammates to the green flag, then engaged in a race long battle with Cunningham and Jeff Simmons.  The two eventually teamed up to pass Gregg for good in the closing laps.  Gregg finished third in the race, and third in series points with 462. Chris Festa started third and finished fourth after a battling very hard all race long.  Festa ended the year sixth in points with 387.  Jaime Camara started outside on the front row and ended 10th after pitting for a flattened tire.  Camara locked in fifth in points with 403.  P.J. Abbott, in his second race of the year in the #11 Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry started 14th and finished eighth.


Gregg, 27, of Camden, Ohio, enjoyed the racing action.


"We started good, but ended up a little short.  It was fun to battle with Wade (Cunningham) and Jeff (Simmons) during the race.  I thought we had it on that last restart, but I just couldn't keep up with their momentum when they went by together.  I didn't really feel alone out there until the last eight laps.  For the first 42 laps, I was pretty busy.  It was pretty fun," Gregg said.


Festa, the Florida State University sophomore, drove the #19 Sanitec/CareCentric Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry with a lot of heart.


"We're disappointed we dropped to fourth after starting third, but it was a hard race the entire time.  We're happy to maintain fourth with the battle we were in," Festa said. "The car was understeering a little which made it unable to keep up with the front three.  That's the way it goes, sometimes you just don't have a car that's fast enough, but we were able to end the year better than we started.  It was a good, hard race."



Pos No Driver Name Best Time Best Speed Best Lap Total Laps
1 33 Wade Cunningham 37.4736 192.135 46 50
2 24 Jeff Simmons 37.4702 192.153 46 50
3 7 Travis Gregg 37.5020 191.990 44 50
4 19 Chris Festa 38.0968 188.992 28 50
5 9 Nick Bussell 37.9860 189.544 43 50
6 25 Arie Luyendyk Jr. 37.9291 189.828 29 50
7 4 Marty Roth 37.9198 189.874 29 50
8 11 P.J. Abbott 39.0741 184.265 15 49
9 6 Jon Herb 37.9546 189.700 7 47
10 1 Jaime Camara 37.9583 189.682 16 45
11 23 Taylor Fletcher 38.1093 188.930 7 7
12 20 Jay Drake -0.0001 0.000 0 0
13 3 Bobby Wilson -0.0001 0.000 0 0
14 27 Geoff Dodge -0.0001 0.000 0 0



The #1 CELG/Goias Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry driven by Camara, 24, a Brazilian who now lives in Miami, Fla., suffered a flat tire on lap 24.  He did a good enough save of his race car that there was no caution for the near-wreck.  Camara lost five laps getting the tire repaired under green flag.


"We had a good car.  I know Wade Cunningham, on the second restart, he drove me below the white line so I had to lift, I fall back to last.  Then I could come again, and then Jon Herb touched me.  I gotta check the replay to see what did he do of or I did something.  I don't think I did something wrong because I was holding my line.  We touched, and I almost crashed.  I was able to save (the car from wrecking) but I got a flat tire and all my tires were gone after that.  I couldn't do anything, just stay there and try to finish the race.  I'm glad I'm OK - I wish we could've been part of the racing up front at the finish," Camara said.


Sam Schmidt was proud of the team's efforts.


"Obviously it's not the way we'd prefer to wrap up the year.  We qualified where we needed to but we couldn't close the deal.  Wade (Cunningham) and Jeff (Simmons) were smart about things and worked together.  Unfortunately, we didn't have anyone up there to help Travis (Gregg) out at the time it counted," said Schmidt. 


"Finishing third and fourth with all three cars in one piece is OK, just definitely wanted to win the last race going into the winter, but we didn't.  I was disappointed, but having three cars in the top six in points at the end of the year is a positive thing - it was one of the team goals that we were able to meet.  It was a good effort today, we just didn't end up with the cars where we needed them so they could help one another out at the end."


Sunday's 50-lap race will be televised on a tape-delayed basis at 3 p.m. (EDT), on Thursday, October 20th on ESPN2.




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