Inge Claims Second in Tough Battle
Fort Myers, FL – Matthew Inge, a mining engineering senior from Virginia Tech, fought through a tough season-ending weekend at the Mid Ohio Sports Car Course to capture a second place finish in a hard fought battle for the F2000 Championship.
With only a handful of points separating the top three competitors, the pressure was on for each driver to be fast, smart and lucky! Mid Ohio is a very technical race track that demands perfection. Only Inge’s second time on the course, Inge states, "We were trying a new concept on the car for this course so it took awhile for us to get the car dialed in. This kept us from having the confidence in the car that we needed, so I just never got the track position needed. At Mid Ohio, it’s crucial to start up front as there is so little room to pass. We still had solid finishes, but so did Chris Miller. As we entered the second race of the weekend, I needed him to make a mistake and he just never gave me an opening. My congratulations to him on his win this weekend taking the title in Championship fashion!"
Inge has demonstrated throughout the season that he is consistently fast, setting fastest race lap several times and capturing two wins. Even though the season has had victory-circle highs, it’s also had its tough-break lows. Inge explains, "While we have been consistently running with the front pack, we’ve also had some bad luck by being taken out in one race, flat spotting the tires on another, and in the fifth race of the season discovering that the throttle had not been running wide open due to a mechanical problem. With the throttle fixed, I got my first win! But I’ve certainly learned a lot this season about the importance of being consistent, racing smart and paying attention to details."
Inge has also learned what it means to stand on the podium and the responsibility that comes with success. After each race Matthew made it a tradition to step out into the crowd and greet the fans, always finding one young super enthusiastic fan and gifting him his just-won Hoosier hat and neck collar. Inge commented, "I remember when I was a kid and someone took the time for me; it was just awesome. So I enjoy being able to make a young fan’s weekend; you can just tell when they are really into racing, and it caps off a great weekend."
Inge now hopes to advance to the next level in the Star Mazda Series heading towards Indy or the American Le Mans Series. "We just have to see what programs will suit the sponsor’s marketing goals best. Both series have a great deal to offer corporate American, particularly in the business-to-business sector. So hopefully we can find the right fit. Frankly, I’ll just be happy to be driving!" said Inge.