The long offseason has once again found a way to extend itself. A test planned for this week has been canceled because of weather concerns on top of the already delayed start. But, we can finally see an end to this drought of racing.
The canceled test has created a new and even better opportunity. My team, Rice Race, had a late opening for the prestigious June Sprints at Road America. And, thanks to our partner Mike Land with Indiana Coating Specialists and Tnemec, we’ve added it to our schedule.
So, my new season opener event is going to be June 11-14 at Road America, for the WeatherTech Chicago Region SCCA June Sprints. This is a very large event with well over 20 cars in my class (Formula F) and over 100 for the event. The June Sprints has a long history, is attended by numerous fans and qualifies drivers for the SCCA Runoffs later this year.
While I hope and expect to be competitive and have a chance to win, the main purpose of participating in this event is to get used to working with my new team, the new car, and to learn to give better feedback to prepare me for the start of the FRP F1600 championship which kicks off at Pittsburgh International Raceway, June 19-21. I am more than excited to finally get back in a race car after being out of the seat for almost 8 months.
Although I haven’t been on track in the real world, I have been competing in the iRacing FRP Challenge on my simulator. It has been a lot of fun to compete in the virtual world with the other drivers that I will race against in the real world. I have also raced in Formula Regional Americas Invitational iRacing series with many F4 and FR Americas drivers, and Elite Racing Leagues event at Chicagoland, with many IndyCar drivers. The extended offseason and rise in internet racing have provided reasons to upgrade my home sim to a more realistic simulator with SimXperience’s Accuforce steering, and Heusinkveld sprint pedals all thanks to the support from Tnemec CO and Indy Simulations.
I’ve also had the opportunity to stay involved at the kart track and have been coaching a young driver. He won from pole in our first weekend together. It’s been fun to watch him improve and think about the process of racing.
As I said earlier, I am very excited to get the #52 Tnemec Honda Mygale F1600 for RiceRace back on track. I can’t thank Tnemec, Indiana Coating Specialists, and Mike Land enough for the support, and helping me get back on track and ready for the season. Also, Rising Star Racing and our long-time partners Don and Jennifer Caldwell (Caldwell Subways of Hobart and Valparaiso/Jackson Hewitt/Caldwell Realty) have been a huge help in making our F1600 season a possibility. Big thanks also to Moeller Printing, Lake Cable Consulting of Canton, OH, BSA Life Structures, Hinchman Racewear, Bell Helmets, Performance Tire Service Company, and Cabin Coffee Company of Avon.
And, thanks to Greg Rice and Rice Race Prep for the opportunity. After spending a weekend with Rice Race last year, I know Greg and his team will give me the best opportunity to win this season. I can’t wait to get started!