|Hi everyone- What a weekend! To be able to race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for my first sportscar races was really cool. This past weekend, I drove for AOA Racing in a BMW M2 CS in two SRO TC America races in the TCX class. Coming into the weekend, I only had about 25 minutes total testing time in the car because of a test that was cut short for a mechanical. So, when I was able to put down the fastest time in the first practice on Thursday, I was pretty happy. Our second practice was cancelled due to weather, which meant I had to qualify on Friday morning with very limited experience. But I was confident going into the day that I would be able to qualify well. |
Sports cars are a bit different than what I am used to for a couple of reasons. The car is much heavier and has almost no downforce. This makes the car react slower and forces me to be patient and slower with my inputs. I feel it’s a good platform for a driver to learn car control and to develop or refresh on the basic skills it takes to drive a race car. Another reason it’s different is because you are not only on track with your fellow competitors, but also with competitors from other classes in the series. that means that we were on track with the TC and TCA cars, both of which are slower in speed. The TC cars are not too far off the TCX cars pace, but they still cause traffic and can be tough to pass. The TCA class was much slower than mine. This made it especially difficult to put a good qualifying lap together. This is something that I will have to figure out as I go. Trying to find clean track to put a lap down in qualifying can be difficult so I wasn’t able to show the best of what I had in quals. This put us P6 on the grid race 1. Not where I wanted to be but still close enough to compete.
In race 1, I was able to start strong and gain positions quickly. I was moving my way up and by ¾ of the way through the race, I had made it all the way up to P3 and had a couple of looks at 2nd. I was fast (setting the third fastest lap of the race with an early clean lap) and felt that I legitimately could have made my way up to P2 in what little time we had left. I had fallen back to 4th but was faster than the car in front of me. I knew if I could quickly clear the position, I had a shot to reach 2nd. Unfortunately, that’s when I got a little too impatient and tried to force a pass that wasn’t there. I overshot the corner and lost ground in the grass. It was tough to finish my first race with that mistake, but I had made great progress in learning the new car and the new style of racing. I felt strong about the next race.
Race 2 grid is set by fast times in race 1 so I started in P3. It was a much smoother race for me. After bogging down a bit at the start and losing three spots, I got even more experience running wheel to wheel in this series and had a lot of great battles throughout the race. I had to fight very hard to gain and maintain positions and ended up finishing 4th. I have lots of good onboard video, and footage from the broadcast highlighting these battles. You can check one of my battles by clicking the image posted below or my YouTube page on the “Team Press” page.
|Clip from Race 2 from official SRO broadcast. **I do not own the rights to this clip.|
|I owe a big thanks to John De Barros and the entire crew from AOA Racing. They welcomed me to their team and gave me a great car to drive and learn in. I really appreciated their efforts and look forward to working with them again soon.|
It was also great to have some of our friends from Hays + Sons, IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center, and more join us in the suite. Some of my family drove a good distance to my sports car debut. They don’t often get to go to my races so seeing them afterwards was pretty cool.
So now it’s on to the next. We are working overtime to finalize our budgets for 2024 and make decisions about where we’ll be with options in USF Pro 2000 and several sports car series. What we do know is that we’ll have lots of great VIP experiences and offerings at INDYCAR and IMSA events no matter where I race along with marketing opportunities for our partners! If you’re interested in hearing more or have an idea who might be, hit reply to this email. We’d love to talk.