Scarallo's August Blog
It’s been a while since I have been able to write a blog and a lot has gone down since then. Most recently, we raced at Lime Rock Park in the F2000 Championship Series. Lime Rock is my home track with it being the closest to where I live on the schedule and therefore I look forward to it every year.
The solo practice session and both qualifying sessions on Friday threw me a curve ball with the track being very wet. During the practice session, we just did a few laps to break in a sticker set of rains so that they would be in perfect condition for Q1 shortly after. The first qualifying session probably had the most severe weather I’ve ever had to drive in, yet I didn’t feel that bad with the R-Sport guys doing a terrific job putting a rain set-up on the car. The hardest part was trying to find a clear lap and get clear of traffic. I spent the entire session trying to get a clear lap and every time I would think I had it, I would get held up again. The rain was so severe that I could not even use my rearview mirrors because there was so much spray off my own tires! I was on a flying lap and knew that it was much faster than the rest with it finally being clear. I was getting a giddy feeling inside knowing it would be so much faster and put me close to the top, if not at the top, of the time sheets. But sure enough, going into the west bend the red flag was out forcing me to abort that lap and having to pit. That ended the session as well.
Q2 was a bit different. It was still extremely wet, but it had just stopped raining as we were rolling onto the track, so the track was drying quickly with every lap. I knew that it was going to be critical to be on a flying lap on the last lap. Due to the track drying I was becoming faster every time around. We set it up correctly and I was on a flyer on the last lap of the session and was going to be the last car to get the checkered. My dash was telling me that I was on a flying lap and going faster than my current fastest time. But again, the lap ended at the west bend turn. This time it was not a red flag but slower traffic that held me up in west bend, and the downhill. Even with getting held up, my lap was faster, but it killed it enough that I got jumped by everybody else making use of the drying track.
It was certainly frustrating not getting the qualifying result I wanted, but at the same time no one seemed completely satisfied. Other front runners such as Morgan and Erickson were behind me after Q2, also due to it being so difficult to get a clear lap.
In Race 1, I got a great start jumping up from 12th to ninth on the first lap and gained two more positions before the first full course caution. I was sitting P7 behind championship leader Victor Carbone, but I had Chris Livengood behind me. The restart came and I got a good run on Victor, and Chris got an even better run on the two of us. I drove as deep as I could into the brake zone and as I did I looked into my mirror and saw that Livengood’s nose did not drop yet. Immediately I knew this was bad and slammed on the brakes that much harder and pulled to the left as quick as possible. Doing this I just barely missed getting hit by Chris when he locked up the brakes and hit Victor. Then I had to go off track to go around the road block they created causing me to lose two spots. I eventually got those spots back to come back and finish seventh from 12th and set the second quickest lap of the race less than a tenth off the fastest time.
In Race 2, I got another great start but sadly got hit from behind in turn 1 causing me to lose everything I gained. I kept my head down though and started making my way forward, picking off drivers one by one and set the fastest lap of the race while doing it. I eventually made my way up to sixth and once again Erickson stole my fastest lap of the race at the very end. So all-in-all it was two solid races showing great speed, and really good race craft moving up a bunch of spots in both races at a track that is very difficult to pass.
Since I last wrote a blog, I recently got hired by a new F1000 manufacturer to do the testing and development of their new car. It’s an incredible opportunity to have received. It all came through a long time friend of mine that built the body work. Sal (the owner) knew who I was and thought I would be a good pick because the F2000 Championship is not a spec series. With this, he knew I would be able to give good detailed feedback about the car and new pieces that we would try. So far so good. Most recently we tested at NJMP Lightning course and broke the track record by a substantial amount. The F1000 is a very cool car with it weighing much less than an F2000 car, having more power, bigger brakes, but much less torque. With that, smooth hands are very critical. You have to drive the car like it’s an FV because if you’re not smooth you will scrub speed and don’t have the torque to help counteract it.
But now it’s time to head to one of America’s greatest road courses, Road America. I have been looking forward to racing at this track for so many years. I think the racing is going to be very intense with how tight the competition is in this series and with many passing zones at Road America. But at the same time, I think qualifying is going to be important. It’s not impossible that we may see the pole sitter check out while the entire pack behind him is battling and the leader is just clicking off fast laps. But time will tell!
See you there!