Tim Paul: Podium!
PODIUM! HAHAHAHAHAH YES!
Ok, now that I got that out of the way, I'll go ahead and gush some more. The team did an incredible job at Lime Rock, from top to bottom. With the suspension failure in Q1 and the oil that destroyed my hopes in race 1 and left me sitting in the grass for two laps while I struggled to reach my hand out of the cockpit and flip the master switch off and on so I could get the car refired, which was after the less-than-prudent first turn melee... the weekend wasn't as easy as the results show, although they never are.
The guys from GTP did an incredible job. They never batted an eye and actually, to their credit, got all three cars that were involved in that earlier mentioned first turn incident in race 1, all heavily, back on the grid for race two. That was the story of the weekend: perseverance.
With the weight of the past resting more heavily on my shoulders than I would have liked, with the decimation of one codenamed: Jessica Rabbit at the hands of the Lime Rock grounds onto the entrance of no-name straight, I had a strong desire to finish well this year. I am not a person accustomed to making statements I don't know are absolutely true, unless I am enjoying a certain Irish beverage, which was absent in the interview I gave before the race in which I said we would hopefully be drinking some champagne at Lime Rock because I knew it was possible for us there. It's been possible all year, but I had to catch up to the level the car has been on this year. It's been a huge learning experience, and while I hesitate to say it, I've been going back through my “Going Faster” Skip Barber book in between every race. Sometimes I just pick it up, open randomly and read for a few minutes and sometimes I have marathon sessions. I know almost everything in there, but that doesn't matter if you forget to use it. So I am constantly going over the basics of race car driving. I feel like this is a resource underutilized by drivers at this level and beyond.
Having the CellMark People people there and all my family as well was a fun part of the weekend. I was asked if it added to the pressure of the weekend, and for me it definitely does not. Once I'm in the car and away from everyone else, everything that becomes before or after the present moment is meaningless. I had a blast, and having that kind of support behind you isn't harrowing, it's encouraging., and I am thankful to each and every person who showed their face to support the team.
How about one Mr. Bob Wright, huh!? I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks! He absolutely killed it in race 2, and I couldn't have been happier when I saw that Van Diemen roll up and park in the impound after the race in pit lane. Well done, sir. He dogged me the first 8 or so laps of race 2, and was so strong that I was thrown off-line a few times making mistakes because I was watching the mirrors. Actually, if it weren't for that I probably could have won the damn thing. THANKS BOB! I kid, you drove a hell of a race and I couldn't be happier. Everyone did a great job over the weekend, from my competitors, (with the exception of another first turn pile up, which could have easily been avoided. As is always the case with those.) my crew, the series staff, the fans, the champagne company, CellMark Paper, SOS Children's Villages, Rich's Stitches, and all my friends and family. Thank you.
So there you have it, straight from my head to yours. Thank you everyone who made it out, I had a great weekend at Lime Rock. The road to the podium felt very long, although this being only my second season driving on a road course, EVER, it could have been a lot longer. Desire, Preparation, Grittiness, and PERSEVERANCE are the most important thing a driver can have in his team, and we have never been found in want of that in my entire racing career, and it certainly doesn't seem to be receding.