SEPTEMBER 10, 2005


Schmidt Sweeps Chicagoland Front Row

McCune Takes the Pole, Gregg is Second


JOLIET, Ill. - Sarah McCune made a grand entrance into the Menards Infiniti Pro Series Saturday, capturing the pole at Chicagoland Speedway in her Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry. Teammate Travis Gregg, second in the championship race, qualified second for Sunday's 100-mile event.


Perrysburg, Ohio, native McCune, who resides in Los Angeles, Calif., finished fourth in her first MIPS practice, second in her second and put the #8 Trick My Truck Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry on the pole in her first-ever qualifying attempt in the Indy Racing League.  Her lap time was 187.795 miles per hour (29.1382 seconds).  Gregg, a graduate of Miami (Ohio) University, put the #7 Lucas Oil Special Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry second on the grid with a time of 29.2981, (186.770 MPH). 


Jaime Camara and Chris Festa had never been on-track at Chicagoland before Saturday but still ran well. Camara, a 24-year-old Brazilian native living in Miami, qualified sixth with a time of 29.5654 (185.081 MPH). Festa, of Atlanta, Ga., qualified the #19 SpacePak/CareCentric Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry eighth with a lap time of 29.6420 (184.603 MPH).


"I feel good that I followed up my fast (practice) times with a fast qualifying time and I'm just thinking about (Sunday) and focusing on winning," smiled McCune.  "It feels good to back up all my test sessions with the strong times today, but now I've got to focus on the race.  As a driver you are always setting goals for yourself, so when you meet one, it's just kind of straight onto the next one."


Gregg, another Ohio native who still lives in Camden, and is anxious to get the green flag in his second race at Chicagoland. He is currently second to Wade Cunningham in the chase for the championship.


"I ran this race last year, so I knew what to expect after the ARCA cars raced on the track," said Gregg.  "We picked the setup and went with it.  I guess I kept my streak of front rows on ovals alive. And we're a couple spots ahead of the points leader - my main focus is to get as many points as I can on Sunday."


Jaime Camara is fifth in points heading into the Chicagoland 100.


"Our car is pretty good for the race," said Camara.  "I think we might have made the wrong gear choice for qualifying.  We're just going to setup the car for tomorrow and try to run a good race.  The track is pretty good.  I didn't find any surprises out there."


Festa, a 19-year-old driver who came to Chicagoland between classes at Florida State University, is sixth in the championship points race.


"We weren't as good as we wanted to be going into qualifying.  We made some pretty big changes and they didn't work out for us.  We're looking at them right now and we're going to come up with something for the final practice this afternoon," said Festa. "We're looking to make up a lot of ground on the track tomorrow."


Owner Sam Schmidt is hoping for a smooth race on Sunday for his four rookies.


"I think I'm cut out for this," smiled Schmidt. "I know I used to be thrilled when I'd race, and victory lane is a very, very sweet place to drive your car after a race, but watching these rookies climb in my cars and do so great is a terrific thrill.  I think the first races with the drivers might be the coolest, because you take them in and they're like your charge for the race weekend.  When you see them go from a test session to the front of the field, it's just a feeling that's hard to beat!  Obviously, I'm really proud of the effort Sarah put in today.  There's been a lot of attention she's dealt with and still was able to keep her mind on wheeling the race car.  Travis, I really thought he'd get the pole, he even got the late draw in qualifying.  What he got was good track position on the points leader, and he knows what he's got to do to get points toward the championship.  All the cars are in the top 10 so I can't really complain."


Sunday's 67-lap race begins at noon (EDT), and will be televised on a tape-delayed basis at 3 p.m. (EDT), on Thursday, September 15th on ESPN2.




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