Tim Paul's Atlanta Write-Up

May 17, 2010

Maybe I'm a strange guy, but anytime I get in a new race car there's a voice in the back of my mind asking “So what do you think the first wreck will be like?” Well, at Road Atlanta I found out that wrecking formula cars is a pretty mundane affair. Sprint cars like to get upside down, and after the suspension broke putting me into the wall in turn 12, I kept waiting for the roller coaster to start. It never came. Being low and wide is a good thing!

The car was ready to go on Saturday thanks to the Racehouse/SMR Cellmark crew, and I'm happy with the outcome of Saturday's race. My goal for Road Atlanta was a top 20 finish. When the suspension broke on Friday coming under the white flag I just happened to be in 20th place. Another minute and a half and the goal would have been obtained early in the weekend. But the universe had other plans. Instead it was a late night in the paddock and no practice or qualifying on Saturday. Starting 28th I pretty much just avoided the carnage and ended up 17th.

So... people, especially Skip Barber guys always ask one question first: “How do you like this (F2000) compared to what you were doing before?” I've had time to sit down and think about it and I can honestly say: if it's got 4 wheels and a steering wheel I'm going to drive it. As fast as I can. They all have their nuances and tricks of the trade and intricacies, but at the heart of it it's all the same. Dirt and asphalt, oval and road racing. Understeer feels like understeer. Power oversteer feels like power oversteer no matter where you go or what you're driving. At least for me this has been true so far. As far as what I like better? Well that's easy: Neither. As long as it's fast and at least a little bit scary I'm going to enjoy it as much as anything else. To say I enjoy driving my formula car more would be a great disservice to sprint cars and midgets. As always until you actually do something that requires a lot of time and effort and skill building there are certain aspects you can't know. Similarly, to say I enjoyed sprint cars more than F2000 would be a great disservice. And both statements would be untrue.

I will say however that the road racing has added a new and invigorating flavor to something that had become routine. We'd been doing the same thing for so long that focus and interest was beginning to slowly recede. This is the defibrillator that I for one needed in my life. I'm having a blast racing with all these guys and the welcome to the series we've received from everyone has been phenomenal. Thank you all again. All the people who came to the paddock while we were putting the car back together and offered advice or parts, or just encouragement. There are too many of you to list but it was much appreciated and we all thank you for it. Also, hospitality by Primus Racing was fantastic and served up the much needed fuel we needed to get through the hot-as-heck weekend. Thank you everyone once again.

-Tim, #06 SMR

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