Tim Paul: April Blog
It hit me at 125mph. We were going up the flat 4th gear S turns headed toward turn ten at VIR, and it hit me. I was watching the car in front of me wind its way up, and I was 6 inches off his gearbox and trying to plan when I was going to make my move.
Suddenly I thought to myself, “Man, you have to be crazy to find this fun and relaxing. Most people would be terrified.” I’m covered in sweat, the cockpit is somewhere just north of a hundred degrees, ahead of me some kind of fluid is burning and the smell is filling my nostrils and I know that myself, and all the other drivers on the track are having the time of their lives.
I’ve been in the seat of a racecar at least once for every race season over the past fourteen years of my life. Whether it was sprint cars, midgets, mini sprints, champ karts, go karts and now, formula cars and I can’t imagine doing or having a passion like this for anything else. I try to keep things light around me and everyone calm in the pits or paddock because deep in my brain I’m more serious about this than I can ever be about anything else in the world. Press that ignition button and the rest of the world; whatever doesn’t pertain to this experience falls away and is gone. My brain feels like a newly sharpened knife. The world gets hyper colorful, and things that are here are gone in the blink of an eye.
As I sit here with very little sleep and a few days after my first F2000 race at Virginia International Raceway I find myself realizing I had noticed and dwelled on some things more than others did over the course of the weekend. First and foremost, I thought about my SMR/Racehouse team. My crew: Michael Witson, Tad Uzzle, Bobby Bemis, my driving coach Stevan Mccaleer and my father Rick Paul did a better job than I could have ever dreamed. When I went out the car was prepared, I was calm and confident, and I didn’t ever have to question the equipment. As a driver you can’t ask for anything more out of the people you surround yourself and entrust your safety and state of mind with. I can’t say enough about these guys. It is often said of influential people that they are “the backbone” of an organization, but in this case they are the brain, abdomen and legs. Without a single one of them, our car would not have moved an inch, let alone enabled me to cut 6+ seconds off my lap times from the beginning of Thursday’s practice to the end of Sunday’s race.
Another huge “thank you” I have to make is to the other drivers, crew, and all series staff. Jonathan Scarallo, Tom Fatur, Glenn Philips, Brent Gilkes, Radon, Pi, Hoosier, CellMark Paper, Blake Teeter and his father who after an unfortunate motor problem on the #14 Racehouse car on Thursday stuck around all weekend and gave support and advice. The list goes on, and I can’t thank all of you enough… I’m speechless and humbled by all of this.
In closing, I can’t wait for Road Atlanta and to continue to hone my skills and to keep progressing. I’m beginning to get accustomed to the capabilities and limits of the car (which I pushed a little too far in practice much to the chagrin of my crew) and to continue making connections and getting friendly with everyone who participates, supports and loves what we do. I fully plan to continue getting faster and making sure that I am the best that I can be at my job for my team. Big top secret announcements are coming soon for us, so stay tuned to www.stupidmonkeyracing.com, find me on Facebook or check out my Twitter.
Can’t wait to see you all at Road Atlanta!
-Timothy Paul, SMR #06