JS Blog: Team USA Nominee and RA Winner

August 25, 2010

Hello Everybody!

It’s been awhile since my last blog and a lot has happened!

We most recently raced in the F2000 Championship Series at the historic four mile track of Road America. I had visited Road America a handful of times before to watch my older brother race, but had not driven there myself so I was looking forward to it a lot.

The R-Sport guys did a great job rolling up to the track with two great cars and really good baseline set-ups. At the end of the first practice session we were P1 and P3 on the time sheet. This was a great start to the weekend. I had to sit out most of the second session sadly, due to a battery/electrical problem. But Rob, Don and Paul did a great job diagnosing it and had me out there for the final practice session. We ended the day on a high note, topping the time sheet with a time that unofficially re-set the track record! This obviously gave us great hope for the following day in Q1 and Race 1.

On Saturday we qualified P2 just a tenth off the pole, which sounds great but I was very disappointed considering we topped the time sheet by six tenths the day before. But the times were very close and I knew we had a great car that I could win with.

During the race, Victor was able to sneak by on the inside with me getting dried out on the outside. But I remained calm and the two of us were haunting Erickson who looked to have a car with a lot of over steer. Carbone got by him around lap four and then I got by on the next lap. I started chasing down Victor like a mad man, but sadly my race came to an end on lap six with a fourth gear failure. This was obviously heartbreaking for me and the R-Sport guys. We had a car that had a very good chance to win and victory was ripped away from us.

The next day I was hungrier than ever for success with us being so close the day before. I had so many emotions running through me: anger, heartbreak, optimism, etc. The combination of those feelings worked to my advantage, and I put the car on the pole for Race 2 by four tenths over the field. This was a terrific rebound from yesterday and I was excited for the race.

That race was one of the craziest races I have ever been a part of. The nonstop drafting, bump drafting, lock ups, squeezes and everything else added up to a great afternoon. The battle was between Erickson, Morgan and I. It was a battle that had everybody on their feet and we came away with the win when the checkered flag waved. It felt so good to finally get a win in the series. We’ve been really fast all year but have not had the luck to put the results together, so to finally have everything come together was fantastic!

The Tuesday after my win I received a phone call from an unknown number. I answered the phone and it was Jeremy Shaw from the Team USA Scholarship. He called to congratulate me on the win and to tell me that I was nominated for this year’s Scholarship! I am so excited to be a part of this program. It’s a fantastic opportunity and an honor to just be nominated.

It was a bit last minute, but I had to go back to Road America during the America Le Mans Series event for a Team USA press conference. I actually flew to Indy where my friend Conor Daly picked me up along with Connor De Phillippi. Both were Team USA Scholarship winners over the last two years. We drove up to Road America together and I got to meet a lot of people such as; David Hobbs, Duncan Dayton, John Doonan, Bryan Sellers, Darren Law, Brian Till, Calvin Fish etc. The whole experience just made being a part of this program that much more special.

I really appreciate Jeremy considering and nominating me this year for the Team USA Scholarship. As I have mentioned, it really is such an honor just to be nominated and have a chance of winning. I have been following this program for many years and I’m even friends with a lot of the past winners, even Tony Ave who won it in 1991! Certainly if I do not win, the competitive side of me will be disappointed but I am still very grateful to be a part of it, and am looking forward to the shootout at the Bondurant High Performance Racing School in a week.

See you in Mid Ohio!


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