Driver Blog: Chris Livengood
Virginia International Raceway… Take a deep breath. VIR, you complete me! Prior to this event I had never even been a spectator at VIR. On many levels, this strikes me as a complete tragedy. The facility is beautiful in every sense. Despite this, and considering the excitement of my first F2000 Championship Series event, I surely cannot truly regret any of the occurrences of this experience. This for me is absolutely the time of my life. There is no need for retrospection to see that.
Asides from the excitement related to being a rookie, I must also admit that the team members and I found there to be many attractive things about the entire experience. The series staff and Mike Rand ran a show that is, for once, not trying to be anything that it is not. The series, in my impression, is run under the simple premise of racing. Get your car on track and drive it! This seemed to be the emphasis all weekend and, with exception to our electric glitch, that is exactly what Work Racing was able to achieve. I was even the lone ranger on wets during Thursday’s final practice session. Incidentally, that rain session is the only rain session I have ever had in an F2000 car, though the experience was not too alien from my rain experience in different cars.
Rather than relish in the sweetness of my first event weekend, I would like to look ahead. After getting through my first weekend and achieving what the Team and I consider to be a complete success, how do I feel about Atlanta? This is a question I have on some level been struggling with for the last few weeks. Excitement is certainly present in great quantities, but how have my goals changed? To start, our understanding of the Pinto versus Zetec scenario has grown exponentially. Hills, ones like those that exist at Road Atlanta (not that I have been there) seem to be an important factor. This was one of our struggling points at VIR. I was forced to climb the hill on the back straight in fourth gear and the torque advantage of the Zetec was apparent. However, it is also clear that once I cleared that crest the Pinto had a slight top end advantage riding down into the dip and entering the following braking zone. Additionally, it was clear that a few of our whizzy bits were perhaps not present in the right combinations. This meant a slightly reduced top speed and a resultant slight reduction in overall performance. Before leaving VIR, Bruce (the team owner) had already compiled the necessary pieces to fix this for Road Atlanta. I see that as something that certainly exhibits our strength as such a small team, our ability to make decisions and realize that decision to change very quickly.
To digress slightly, when Norman Osborn’s alter ego, The Green Goblin, discusses the destruction of Peter Parker, he says, “The cunning warrior attacks neither body nor mind.” During Work Racing’s quest towards the first and second rounds, our struggle and eventual success are not too different than The Green Goblin’s attack on Spiderman. Body and mind were beaten, but the heart that the members of Work Racing exhibited surely exists in incommensurable quantities. If this were not true, we would have never made it to VIR in the first place. I will avoid boring you with the minutia of our struggles because much is akin to a driver who is focused on his or her mirrors. Energy spent looking back is energy that can no longer be contributed to making forward progress.
To close, I have to admit that the experience has been emotional. This is certainly true having been able to compete at the level that we managed to achieve at VIR, and I can barely wait to visit Road Atlanta. Simply catching back up with the friends I have made or hanging out with those who I already knew is enough to make me wish away the time between now and the Atlanta event, and knowing that I get to drive a racecar only makes my desire to be there even more intense.