Well, Lime Rock is here. And the best words I have to describe my outlook and feelings upon visiting my "home track": determination, retribution and excitement. In that order.
Allow me to elaborate. Determination refers to the fact that Michael Witson and Tad Uzzle have put more hours in the shop than ever before. The car is sorted out and set up to fly. Fuel pressure issues, brake problems, etc. have all been chased and apprehended. The root causes of the incident at Watkins Glen (that made that weekend a contender for "most abysmal performance of the year" for me) have been addressed and have been locked deep in maximum security. Life sentence, no possibility of parole. I'm confident in the equipment. Being a rookie team with a car that sat around for a while, we were blindsided by failures of aging and decaying parts. It is to be expected, but with the luck we've been having this season we just could not address these issues until now. Michael and Tad made a push of effort that encompasses “ridiculous” and “heroic”. These guys live and breathe cars, and I believe that it is going to show at Lime Rock with Stevan and myself.
Retribution. The word brings so much resonance to me, especially at this juncture. Watkins Glen was possibly the most atrocious weekend I've ever had in a racecar. The team was amazing, I'd put money on “brilliant” as far as adjectives go if I was feeling frisky. They handled all the problems the car decided she was going to throw their way, with all the tenacity they always do. They never let up and never stopped believing they would get me out for Race 2, even when the grid was called and the entirety of the fuel system's guts was lying on the ground in the paddock and I was fully suited up looking on. And you know what? They did get me to the grid. And it was the only session I finished in its entirety for the weekend. The retribution is for me to go out and do my job better. Be better. Be more consistent. Be faster. Spinning myself in Turn 8 digging too hard on Lap 3 to make up lost time after I thought the brakes went away again and waved everyone past was not what you would call a “blissful moment”. I'm ashamed a bit in myself for my performance at Watkins Glen, and frankly I don't like the feeling. It won't be happening again.
The excitement is because I know Lime Rock Park better than any track the F2000 Championship has been to this year. It's the only track I've been on before and I'm expecting to do well. The “bull ring” feeling it has to it probably suits my style the best, and the experience factor is going to do wonders. The amount of laps will benefit me as well, and let me expand on being consistent and fluid.
The ALMS situation is going to be interesting as I have a vested enthusiasm for sports car racing and these are the top of the heap. It's also going to make the paddock extremely exciting (I hope) for us as the Indy Cars did. I love getting to say hello and thank you to fans that are checking out our series, ESPECIALLY the little kids. They have so much enthusiasm for what we're doing that it's humbling and a very cool thing to experience. Sitting a little guy in the car and watching his eyes light up is an all time high as far as feelings go, and I could repeat it endlessly. I hope I get to do that as much as possible this weekend.
See you in a few days!