February 17, 2016
Engines on Engines on Engines
With a new year comes new challenges and I was excited to be driving a Formula Atlantic car for the first time. As I mentioned in my previous pre-race update, Atlantics are extremely fast cars and are essentially one step below a Champ Car or Indy Car.
I arrived at the track, Palm Beach International Raceway, on Thursday after a late flight on Wednesday night. After getting fitted to the car, I was able to get a couple of practice sessions in which I was quickest in both.
Friday started off well as we improved the car and I turned my best time of the weekend. However, we blew a head gasket during the session and we were forced to make an engine change. I missed the rest of the day which was unfortunate.
My mechanic Yonah worked hard to get another engine in before qualifying on Saturday. I was excited to get back in the car especially because I really only had had two and half sessions in the car. I was also going to wear my new helmet for the first time (haha). Anyway, after a couple of laps there was sudden decrease in power and then the engine let go. The really frustrating part is that it only had two laps on it! After looking at the data, we think something just failed internally. Going through 2 engines in 2 days is not fun.
Despite the few laps I did get, I really enjoyed my time in the car and hopefully I'll get the chance to do more!
February 10, 2016
I'm excited to announce that I will be competing in a Formula Atlantic car this weekend at Palm Beach International Raceway! In a way, the Atlantic is similar to the 962 as it's an icon to racing fans across the world.
These cars are straight up beasts. The one I am driving, which is a Swift 016 powered by Mazda / Cosworth, has about 300 hp (about 3 times what the F1600 has) and weighs only slightly more than 1400 pounds. Not to mention, they produce an incredible amount of downforce allowing them to corner at extremely high speeds and require a braking force of 1500 lbs to drive the car at its limit. Additionally, I think these cars are some of the most beautiful formula cars, even though they are slightly older than the modern Indy Lights car or GP3 car.
I will also be debuting my new helmet this weekend. I can't wait to use it, and I'm super happy with how it turned out. My painter, TJ Koyen at Octane Visual, did an incredible job adding some subtle details but still keeping the design super clean.
I can't wait to get behind the wheel. It's going to feel great to push hard again!
February 3, 2016
Legends Never Die
This past weekend, I had the opportunity to drive a Porsche 962 IMSA GTP car at the Daytona International Speedway for the Historic Exhibition event. This was a very special experience for me, given my dad's history with the 962 - especially at Daytona where he won the 24 hour event 29 years ago. For those who aren't familiar with the 962, it is a legend in the motorsports world, as it was one of the dominate forces in global prototype racing during the 80's. It is literally a fire breathing monster putting out close to 800 horsepower thanks to the help of a single, massive turbo. The turbo demands a unique driving style as when you initially go to power, you don't really feel it because the turbo isn't spooled up. But once it builds boost, the car literally feels like its taking off!
During the 24 minute exhibition, I was able to get some clean laps and get a taste of what a beast the car is. The cars were capable of over 200 mph, and even though there isn't a speedometer, it sure felt fast!
As referenced in the title, legends never die. I think the 962 epitomizes this as the amount of people, young and old, who were attracted to the car was a bit astounding. Not only the history of the car, but just the way it looks and sounds is something that really brings people in.
Without Kim and Gordon Zimmerman giving me the opportunity to drive the car, this once on a lifetime experience wouldn't have happened. I am extremely lucky that they were kind enough to let me experience a car that in the minds of many, is priceless. Also big thanks to my man Bob Russo for helping out with the car.
November 12, 2015
Everything is Bigger in Texas
This past weekend, I was at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas for the final SVRA race of the year. The SVRA is a vintage racing series that has some very cool cars that show up. There were two Benneton F1 cars there in addition to the Audi R8 prototype that ran in IMSA in the early 2000s. With this being my first time at COTA, let alone Texas. I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I've heard so much about COTA and Austin as a city, that I was wondering if it would really live up to it's hype.
After arriving, I was lucky enough to be asked to co-drive with one of K-Hill's vintage drivers, Lee Brahin, in his 2008 Dallara Indy Lights car in the 90 minute enduro race on Sunday. Fortunately, I was able to get a couple laps under my belt before the race in the morning warm-up session. The Lights car has almost four times the horsepower (420 hp) that the F1600 has so that was a bit of an adjustment! But overall it was a lot of fun trying to control the car with the throttle. It also sounds awesome which is always a big check mark in my book! Besides the power, the gear box was an awesome addition. With it being a 6 speed sequential box, it feels like you are hustling the car- trying to catch a slide with one hand and upshifting with the other. On a paddle shift system, your hands never leave the wheel which doesn't give you quite the same sensation. Additionally, the gear box is super crisp on your downshifts, and each gear you pull on the upshifts, you feel the car surge forward. The weight of the car was also a bit different as it weighs quite a bit more than the 1600. You could really feel this in some of the tight corners where you felt like you were just waiting for the car to rotate.
Lee started off the race and after a solid opening stint, brought the car in for me to close out the race. This was a little bit different than what I've been used to in the past as only once before have I had to hop in a car and be on race pace right away.
I started to click off laps and work my way through slower traffic, which was something that I do not have a lot of experience with. Because we are on track with a variety of different cars, each one has it's own set of strengths and weaknesses that you have to be able to identify. Some cars might be able to brake as deep as you, but not have the same amount of power so you work on trying to pass them out of the corner. Others might be quicker in a straight-line but can't slow down as quickly, so you try to identify a corner where you can out-brake them without losing too much time. These are the harder cars to pass as down the long back straight you can't simply power by them, you have to wait until you are in a tighter section and try to set up a pass.
After a couple of minutes into my stint, I found a rhythm through traffic and set the quickest lap of the race. I continued to work my way through the field until I found myself in the lead with about 10 minutes remaining. Behind me, my teammate Tonis Kasemets, who was also in an Indy Lights car, kept hot on my heels as we worked through traffic. Tonis finished 2nd in the Toyota Atlantic Championship in 2005 and went on to race Champ Car. Anyway, I picked up my aggression level just a bit to try and increase the gap. With about 5 minutes to go, Tonis was able to sneak by for lead. I didn't give up and pushed hard to find a way back by, but I had to settle for 2nd overall.
I was pretty happy with my performance in the race as it was my first time in the car and at COTA. The track was a really good fit for the Indy Lights with a good mix of long straight aways and slow corners where you could really feel the torque of the engine. For me personally, it's pretty cool to have been able to drive one of these beasts as they are the last step before IndyCar. The element of traffic is something still quite new to me and a challenge I look forward to in the future. It is my goal to become an endurance racing driver where you are dealing with multiple classes on track at once, and it is something that is essential to becoming the complete driver. A big thanks to K-Hill for accommodating me and Lee for giving me the chance!
October 15, 2015
Goin' for the 'ship
It's finally here! Championship weekend in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania!
After a strong run the second half of the season, collecting 3 wins out of 6 races and only finishing off the podium once, I currently sit in 2nd position in the standings. It's a pretty decent size gap to the points leader, but all I can do is focus on myself and everything will sort itself out.
Since my last report about New Jersey, my team owner Kris Kaiser was generous enough to let me test an 014 and 016 Atlantic car. These cars supported the Champ Car series in the early to mid 2000s and is essentially at the same level as an Indy Lights car. Ever since seeing one on track, I've been itching to drive an 016... they look so cool and make all the right noises. Both cars were a lot of fun to drive and if the opportunity presents itself, I would love to do more.
If you are interested in following along this weekend, I have attached a couple links to the schedule and live timing page.
Here is a link to the schedule. I'll be in the F1600 class: http://www.f1600series.com/pdfs/2015pittoctschedule.pdf
The following link will take you to live timing: http://www.f1600series.com/f16live/
August 28, 2015
Tomorrow, I hit the track at the New Jersey Motorsports Park for the 6th round of the F1600 Championship Series.
Coming off a win at Pittsburgh, we're ready to continue our form and hopefully pull off some more W's before the seasons over. We are pretty far behind the leader for the championship, but with a little but of luck, we can be right there.
I've been to NJMP one time before and that was last year when Eric and I were testing the Radon F2000 car. Its a decent little track with a bit of everything. It has some blind corners where car placement is critical otherwise you'll end up in the weeds big time. There are no super long straights like there are at VIR or Road Atlanta so it'll be interesting to see how the draft works out.
If you are in the area and would like to come out, just let me know and I'll make sure you are on the list to get in. Here is a link to the schedule so you have an idea of when I'll be racing. http://www.f1600series.com/pdfs/2015njmpschedule.pdf
August 19, 2015
Its been a little while since my last race in the F1600 Championship Series, but it was a good one so I figured better late than never!
For the fifth round of the championship, we would be tackling the Pittsburgh International Race Complex and its brand new extension. It had been a pretty tough year leading up to this weekend as I had not scored a win yet, but had numerous podiums and, I believe, the most fast race laps out of anyone. The pace was there for sure, but we just needed the cards to fall our way.
Thursday and Friday both marked practice days for us. Even though the new extension doubled the track length from last year, I didn't feel I had any problem getting up to speed on the new pavement. We were consistently very quick by ourselves, while pretty much the rest of the field had to rely on a draft to run our pace. Of course it's practice, so you have to take the times with a grain of salt, but hey, the car felt hooked up!
Heading into qualifying, I felt pretty confident that we would be on the front row. When we first rolled out, I set the pace almost right off the bat, but as people started to catch drafts, the times dropped and I slipped back a bit. Not gonna lie, it can get a little frustrating when you aren't making progress up the speed charts after you put down a flier. But then again, you have to remember that it's 1600 and a draft lap can be worth up to a 1.5 second, depending on the track. I managed to sneak one last lap in before qualifying concluded to end up P4, about .150 of a second of the pole time. I was a little surprised we ended up where we did, but if you look at the lap times, we were right there.
The first race started off with a little bit of drama as the outside pole sitter tried to push the pole sitter into the grass before the green flag. I thought it was a bit ridiculous myself, because the race hadn't even started yet. To make my point, I made it three wide going into the first turn and drove around the outside of the guy who started P2. I almost made it to P1 as well, but the pole sitter chopped me a bit so I had to back out of the gas and I slipped back to about 5th. All the hustle and bustle of the first lap came to an end when we had a full course caution come out after the first lap. Well, it depended on who you were, as some of the corner stations didn't display the flag so some people continued to race while I slowed down. I naturally fell back but was given the positions back. At the restart, I started P4 and promptly made my way to the lead and started to stretch a gap. However, a massive incident behind me took out 3 cars resulted in another full course cation. I was thinking to myself "Why is this happening to me while I'm in the lead". However, I knew that I was going to have to deal with whatever cards I was dealt and do the best I could. As the laps wound down, I positioned myself for run to the the win. On the last lap, I made my move going down the front straight into Turn 1. I went in deep on the brakes, and made the move stick to take the lead. I knew I had 85% of the lap left, so I defended for my life and took my first win of the year! It was pretty rewarding to finally come out on top. I think a lot of people were pulling for me and I was congratulated by just about everyone who I was racing with. It was really cool to see my friend and probably my biggest rival Scott Andrews pull up next to me and give me two thumbs up on the cool off lap.
My second race went pretty well and I ended up P3 after a tough battle for the win. I had myself positioned for a shot at the win, but it didn't quite work out. I learned though and I know what I need to do when we go back in October! We were hoping to close things out strong in Race 3. We stiffened the rear bar for the afternoon race to reduce the understeer / push in the car from the morning's race. For some reason, when I was on track, the car was almost undriveable with understeer. When the guys got back to the shop, they found that one of the rear bars had come loose which effectively softened the rear of the car. This completely threw the balance of the car off as it gave the rear end entirely too much grip. I ended up P6, and I was trying to squeeze every little bit out of the car.
Funny story from the weekend. When my dad's coworkers from the series where standing in the elevator with their SCCA shirts on, a guy comes up to them and says "My cousin races in the SCCA, do you know so-and-so?" Well it turns out so-and-so was me! It was pretty ironic how my cousin and I were staying at the same hotel in Pittsburgh when we both live in Augusta! He was there for the Pro Disc Golf Association World Championships but he was able to make it out on Saturday for my first win of the year!
Overall, I was pretty happy with the weekend. It was a massive relief to get my first win! The rear bar coming off in the last race was pretty unfortunate and made the car a pig to drive. But we will rebound and come back strong at the New Jersey Motorsports Park on August 28-30!
Looking for a horseshoe...
It's been a pretty tough first half of the year for me in the F1600 Championship Series. We've been in a position to win multiple times, but the cards haven't quite fallen our way. It's been frustrating at times, but I'm sure when we do get that win, it'll be that much sweeter. The K-Hill Motorsports team and I will be heading to the Pittsburgh International Race Complex this weekend. We currently sit 2nd in points after drops, and have a shot at the championship despite missing two races at Road Atlanta due to a circumstance outside of my control. It's a long shot, but we need some luck which we really haven't had much of this year. Last year here at Pitt Race, we had two good runs in the F2000 car. I'll be looking for more of the same this year, even though they have added a brand new extension to the track which will completely change the complexion of the circuit. We will be pushing hard!
Virginia is for lovers... and racers
June 15, 2015
This past weekend, I was back in the K-Hill Motorsports Mygale F1600 car after a lengthy break.
Virginia International Raceway has the appearance more of being at a vacation spot than at a race track. The rolling hills and tree line around the track make it one of the most beautiful tracks in North America. But don't get me wrong, its mix of slow, technical corners and fast "pucker up" turns make it a challenge.
We had a good "twilight test" on Thursday where I ended up P1, but we struggled a little bit for pace on Friday. At the same time, I wasn't too worried considering I never got a draft lap, which can be worth up to a second and half due to the two long straight aways. Regardless, Saturday would show what our true pace was in a race situation.
After a rough qualifying session, I would start Race 1 in the 12th position. I knew the key to having a solid finish would be having a clean start and working my through the field as the race developed.
With the start going according to plan, I set about carving my way to the lead group. About halfway through the race, I found myself running P5 and in the hunt for the win. Unfortunately, being in the hot air of other cars caused the engine temperature to rise to a sweltering 225 degrees, due to the fact that cool air wasn't flowing through the radiators. With the power plant that we have in the car, the ECU starts to retard the engine timing when it senses the engine is getting too hot. Even though I was able to hang with the lead pack, I could't find a way through to the lead and I ended up 5th.
I did secure quickest race lap though which would set me on pole for Race 2. I had a really good start and got a good jump on the field. However, with the draft playing such a huge part in F1600 racing, I was passed going down the back straight which relegated me to P2. Things took a pretty dramatic turn when I was hit from behind sending me into a slow spin which I saved, but I lost the lead draft. I put my head down and drove my way back up to the lead pack but I again had overheating issues and had trouble making my way to the front of the group. With about 3 laps to go, I had an off course excursion from pushing too hard which moved me back to 12th where I finished.
Again, I had good race pace so I was set to start Race 3 from P3. A clean first lap had things looking promising. I fought tooth and nail to be at the front of the pack (never falling below 4th) making sure I kept the engine cool which would keep the ECU from retarding the timing. I had positioned myself well with two laps to go running P4. Going into the first turn, two cars ahead of me got together collecting me and causing some left front suspension damage. I crossed the finish line in 6th which was pretty disappointing considering the position we were in.
So far, a win had been illusive. But I am confident it will just be a matter of time before the cards fall our way and we start winning races.
Spur of the Moment
April 17, 2015
Last week, I headed to Road Atlanta for the F1600 Championship Series, F2000 Championship Series, and Atlantic Series races. My plan was to hang around and see if I could get a ride in some sort of car for the weekend. Things materialized pretty quickly as I was able to arrange a ride with K-Hill Motorsports Wednesday night for the Thursday test day in a Mygale F1600 car! We both wanted to see how things went on the test day before a commitment was made for the full weekend. It was my first time back in a 1600 car after my season with Cliff Dempsey Racing in England.
Even though there was no official timing, we felt we were right on pace so we decided to run the whole weekend.
In our first session on Friday, we were 11th quickest. However, I never got a lap in the draft which makes a massive difference at Road Atlanta. Typically it's a second quicker than a lap by yourself without a draft, so we felt pretty confidant we would be in the hunt.
It rained before our second session and we decided not to go out. We didn't really feel that it was necessary to risk the car in the wet especially if it wasn't going to rain during the weekend.
I felt ready to go for qualifying Saturday mornings my teammate and I had a plan to draft together so we could qualify towards the front of the field. I had a slight problem though, as I headed into the first brake zone... no brakes!!! I took it easy the rest of the lap so we could diagnose the problem in the pits. Once the boys got a chance to look at the foot box, the pedal was hitting the steering column because we made a pedal adjustment the night before to compensate for a few pounds of weight that was put under my seat. The call was made to roll the car back to the trailer where we cut the top half of the pedal off in the middle of the session. I headed back out hoping I could get a decent lap in so I would be towards the front of the field. After a lap, I knew that the problem wasn't solved as the car wasn't stopping like it should have. I came back in because I know if I tried to push any harder, there was a big risk of going off and damaging the car. I ended the session 16th which obviously wasn't where we wanted to be but in F1600 racing, you can use the draft to make your way to the front.
For the race, we bled the brakes to get any air out of the system and readjusted the pedal to make sure we had extra clearance. Thankfully, that was the fix for the problem and I was ready to carve my way to front.
As soon as we went green, I knew it was going to be an insane start. Our first time down the back straight, cars were 3 wide, 4 deep. This is what F1600 racing is all about! I was able to make my way up to 8th before there was a massive crash involving two cars and we had a lengthy caution period which took up about half the race time.
When we went back to green, we had only a few laps left so I knew it was going to be a sprint to finish. I was able to make my way to 4th and started to work with Scott Andrews, who was in 3rd place, to catch the two leaders who had small gap over us two. Unfortunately, it was the last lap and I didn't know it as I didn't catch the white flag and we didn't have a radio in the car. When I came down the hill to Turn 12 and saw the checkered flag waving, I was pretty bummed because I could have challenged for 3rd. But 16th to 4th wasn't too bad, and I had fastest race lap so I would start P1 for Race 2. Things were looking good until...
Until one of the teams needed a spare car because one of theirs was destroyed in the crash early in my race. My team owner and I discussed how this was going to work out. If I was able to commit to the season Saturday, he would save the car and I would race Sunday. If I couldn't commit, he would rent the car out to the other driver. In the end I couldn't make a commitment as we have some other options we are considering for this year so the car was rented out. I understand everyone's situation in the deal. The driver needed the car as he is going for the championship while I was only doing Road Atlanta. Meanwhile, the team owner had the chance to rent the car. It was disappointing for sure after all was said and done as I felt we had a great chance of improving our finishing position as I was starting at the front of the field.
I think it was a pretty good showing for just hoping in the car Thursday and not having any plan whatsoever to compete over the course of the weekend. A big thanks goes out to Kris and the guys at K-Hill for the seat. I know they would like me to run with them again, but we are evaluating all our options for this year. Hopefully we'll know by next week!
Down, Around, and Up at Sebring
March 25, 2015
If I had to chose one word to describe our week, it would have to be "tough". We started our week on Tuesday with a blown engine in our second practice, so things weren't off to a great start.
We changed to an engine that Elan, the spec engine builder, had on their trailer for official practice on Wednesday. Unfortunately, we lost the straight-line speed we had on Tuesday and we were at the bottom of the speed trap. Because the engines are all sealed by Elan, we were pretty much stuck with what we had for the remainder of the week.
While we struggled with top end speed, we continued to improve the handling of the car. This was my first time working with my engineer in Lites, Tim Lewis. The relationship between the driver and engineer is critical in order to have a strong car so throughout the week, Tim and I were building our relationship. I think we worked well together and
improved the car. It showed on the time sheets as we started out P13 in the first practice and by the end of the week, we had top 5 pace.
We qualified at 8 am on Thursday as the first group of cars on track so the surface was a bit dirty from the night before. It took a while for the track to get cleaned off but, once it did, I was able to lay down the 8th quickest time which would put me on the outside row for the start of Race 1.
I had a pretty good initial start and I was able to move up a couple of positions by turn 1, but my row checked up and I lost everything I had gained (and more) which put me in 11th. For the remainder of the race, I clawed my way up to 7th but we had a late race caution and we ended under yellow. That was a little disappointing as I felt I could have passed for 6th and run down P5.
For Race 2, I would start P6, so again on the outside. There really wasn't a space to fit in on the inside so I decided to sail it into 1 on the outside and see if I could make up a couple positions. It almost paid off but I wasn't quite up along side Matt McMurry for P4 so I backed out and slipped to 6th, which wasn't bad - I still maintained my starting position. A lap or two later, Kenton Koch who was really quick all week got around me and I slipped to 7th. He started on pole for race 1 but had some sort of issue and had to start 10th in race 2. I knew he was much quicker so I didn't fight him that hard and figured that I would try to tuck in behind him and follow him through the field. It kinda worked... I made it back up to 6th. After things settled down, I started to run down Matt and Nico Jamin for 4th and 5th. A caution came out though and bunched things back up. A caution can be good, or it can be bad. In this case it wasn't a good thing as after the initial restart going into the turn 7 hairpin, I was nailed in the side at the apex of the turn which compromised my run to turn 10. I defended and the same kid who hit me tried to make a pass in the grass in the brake zone and I got collected at the apex again. I was spun around and fell to 21st.
This is where it gets good.
For the next 30 minutes, I just put my head down and drove as hard as could. I passed car after car and made it back to P7 when things were all said and done. I remember sitting in the transporter after the race and asking my mechanic Chris "Where did we finish, like 15th?" And he replied "No man you were P7!". Huh? I could hardly believe it but I guess I was so in the zone that I didn't realize I had passed so many cars.
It was a rough weekend, between engine troubles and getting taken out when we had the pace for a top 5. But some things are out of your control and we did the best we could with what we had. We improved throughout the weekend which was a positive, but at the same time we don't show up at the race track to run top 5. We need to get the engine deal sorted for sure, because as I mentioned earlier we were close to the bottom if not at the bottom of the speed trap.
I am working on putting some things together for the next round at NOLA during the IndyCar race. Hopefully something falls into place in the next couple of days. I really want to get back in the car again and show what we are capable of.
Sebring... Here I Come!
March 16, 2015
Well, it's official! I will be joining Extreme Speed Motorsports for the IMSA Prototype Lites race supporting the 12 Hours of Sebring!
This is an awesome opportunity and it will be my first time supporting a pro event. The really cool thing about this being my first IMSA race is that my dad won the actual 12 hour race here in 1990.
The IMSA Lites cars are a step-up from the F2000 I raced last year, and are basically one rung below professional prototype racing on the sports car ladder. The analogy I like to use is that the IMSA Lites category is similar to Indy Lights or the NASCAR Nationwide Series in regard to its place on the development ladder in each respective discipline.
Some of you may be familiar with the name Extreme Speed Motorsports. More than likely, you probably have seen their bright green and black LMP2 cars competing in the IMSA Tudor Uniter Sports Car Championship. For me personally, it's neat to align myself with a team that is so well known to sports car fans across North America, and even the world.
We will have a promoter test day on Tuesday with an IMSA sanctioned practice day on Wednesday. We qualify and race on Thursday, followed by a race early Friday morning to close out our event.
I believe they will have live timing for the practice, qualifying, and races at the following link.
I also have included a schedule so you know what times to tune in. We are listed on the schedule as Lites. http://www.imsa.com/sites/default/files/uploads/2015%20IMSA%20Official%20Schedule%20and%20SR%20Sebring%200031115.pdf
Another cool thing that will happen over the course of the weekend is that the winner of the 21st Gorsline Scholarship will be announced. I am a finalist for the award along with two other young drivers, Madison Snow and Dylan Murry. The award for winning the scholarship includes some lessons with sports psychiatrist Jacques Dallaire and physical training sessions with Jim Leo at PitFit. I am really hoping to win this award as these opportunities will serve as very useful tools moving forward in my career. Also, I will be joining the likes of Indy Car driver Josef Newgarden, factory Porsche driver Patrick Long, and Danica Patrick as a recipient of the award if I win.
I am super looking forward to this and going against a good sized field. It is going to be very competitive as there are 6-7 guys who will be "in the hunt".
Let's get it!
Back in the Sunshine State
February 12, 2015
After a week and a half in Georgia, I'm back in Florida for the F2000 Winter Exhibition at Palm Beach International Raceway.
I'll be racing the Radon chassis that I tested earlier this year in New Orleans. This weekend will give us a good chance to compare ourselves to other F2000 cars as our prior tests have been with other classes of cars.
I think both my engineer Eric and I have been pretty happy with the car to date. One of the really noticeable handling characteristics of the car is how well it rides over curbs and bumps.
Palm Beach is a track I haven't been to before, so tomorrow morning will be my first time on track. I'm ready to get back in the car and we are all excited to see the pace of the car in a competitive situation.
You can follow along through out the weekend here. http://www.f2000championshipseries.com/f2live/. Also, I've included a schedule so you'll have an idea of when I'm on track. http://www.f2000championshipseries.com/pdfs/pbr_schedule_2015_2.pdf
February 3, 2015
The last couple of weeks have taken me all across the east coast, from Maryland, to New Orleans, to Augusta, then Daytona, and then back to Augusta. To kick off the gauntlet, I drove up to Maryland to get fitted to the Radon F2000 car which was getting prepared for a 2 day test at the new NOLA Motorsports Park which is hosting an Indy Car event later this year. My engineer / homeboy from last year, Eric Langbein, and I are doing some development work on the chassis to hopefully make it a more competitive car for the upcoming season. The test went well, and we were able to learn some things about the car, in addition to making some positive changes which helped the balance.
I had never been to New Orleans before, so it was cool to walk around a bit after our first test day. We ended up going to a Japanese place for dinner, and on the sushi menu, they had the NOLA Indy Roll. Of course I had to get it, and yeah... it was pretty dang good. It's awesome to see places like that get behind motorsports and promote the event.
Last Thursday, I had a 6 Simple Machines presentation at my old middle school, St. Mary on the Hill. I hadn't been there in a couple years so it was great to go back, but at the same time a little weird for me as nothing has really changed.
I presented to over 200 kids, and it was an awesome group. Probably my favorite part of the whole thing was when I took the cover off the kart, and asked "Who wants a kart now?". Pretty much every single person raised their hand which is what it's all about.
The next day, I drove down to Daytona, Florida for a 24 hour kart race in the infield of the Speedway. We had a practice and qualifying session on Friday, and then the race start on Saturday and end on Sunday.
We qualified P11, which wasn't too bad considering how tight the field was. It's a long race which gave us plenty of time to move up. I would start off the race, and in my first stint, I made my way up to 4th before pitting. Throughout the race, we slowly slipped back due to a penalty, and some other issues we had. For me personally, I had so much fun both getting to carve up traffic and driving 6.5 hours in a 24 hour time frame. I ended up getting about 2 hours of sleep throughout the event so I was a bit zombified when I was out of the kart, but once I got into the zone I was fine. We finished where we started - 11th - and we were all a little bit disappointed we didn't finish better, but it was a lot of fun.
Our next event is the F2000 Winter Exhibition race at Palm Beach International Raceway in the Radon. We will see how it goes and then go from there!
December 11, 2014