Like last year, I will be doing blog entries again this season to give you all an inside look into what’s going on with my team and I on race weekends.
I can’t believe it’s been over 7 months since the last season ended. But for many reasons, I am beyond excited for this season to finally get started. Last season was a highlight year for my career so far. It was my first year racing in a pro series. And although I had many ups and downs, I am looking forward to using everything I’ve learned to my advantage this season. I feel like I am a totally different driver today then I was a year ago, between everything I have learned about chassis set-up, driving, and the business side of the sport.
Certainly this year I have different goals than I did around this time last year. Last year, I was looking to learn as much as I could and get as much experience as possible. Looking back, I think I did a good job with that and I will use it to my advantage this year. Obviously one huge goal to keep in mind is this year’s championship. Many things happen during the grind of a championship fight, some things you can control, and others you can’t. That being said, the championship this year is certainly my goal. With young drivers such as myself and series veterans, the competition is going to be very fierce. However, with the speed I showed last year and now being a sophomore driver, I think the championship is an attainable goal. This year I’m with a great team, have great equipment and I have a fast teammate to work with, but only time will tell.
One terribly unfortunate event that occurred this winter was the passing of Joe Stimola. I first met Joe when I was around 6 years old when he was visiting my house since my older brother Joey was racing in F2000 at the time. Ever since then I would see Joe at the track, and me being the little kid I was, he would always say hello and sometimes even give me a ride on his infamous golf kart. This past season I had the opportunity to work with Joe as my engineer. He taught me so much about driving, chassis set-up, and the business. Two or three times a month Joe would come to our shop just to hang around with the crew and see if there was anything he could help us out with. He was definitely not obligated to do this, but he came by because he wanted to and we appreciated that. Joe will certainly be missed.
Over the winter I have been hard at work improving my physical fitness. I didn’t necessarily feel like I lacked in this department last year, but there is always room for improvement. I have been doing extensive weight workouts, cardio (mostly running and bike riding), and have had to do the occasional snow shovel as well. In addition to my workouts, I’ve also been keeping busy with activities for my local churches here on Long Island. I’ve been mostly playing the drums and helping out with events that my youth group hosts.
The countdown is on. There’s only a few short weeks left to VIR and I can’t wait to hear the roar of engines and smell the burnt fuel and rubber again. See you in Virginia!