Rounds 7-9 of the Lucas Oil Formula Car Series at New Jersey Motorsports Park was one of the most mentally challenging racing events of my career so far. It was a great relief to be able to fight through the adversity. When I first got out in practice, I could not get comfortable with this track. I was a second off pace during all four practice sessions. After studying the track and the on-board footage from the first four sessions, I finally learned the track and started running fast laps.
I found the pace I needed in race #1 to fight with the lead pack. Halfway through the race, the second half of the lead group started racing with each other and we fell out of striking distance of the leaders and I ended in 7th place.
Race #2 went much better. Starting in p7 meant that I had to fight at the start of the race with the mid-pack cars while the leaders took off. But I put my head down and fought to catch up (and claimed the fastest lap of the race). I was able to make a few passes and take advantage of a few mistakes along the way, and finished in 3rd place.
While race #3 was a frustrating result, we showed winning pace the entire race. I was racing in the lead pack for most of the race but had an unavoidable incident and was hit in the back. This resulted in a required drive-thru safety check that ended my chances for the win. Although I was running by myself the rest of the race, I still ran at the same pace as the lead pack (who had the draft) and I ran the fastest lap of the race by 3 tenths.
Unfortunately, the results weren’t able to show our pace towards the end of the event. But I had a great learning experience and I now know I can fight through adversity and find pace when we don’t have it out of the box. Thanks to Lucas Oil School of Racing for putting on a great event, and thanks to Caldwell Realty, Subway of Hobart/Valpo and Jackson Hewitt of Hobart for your continued support. I also have to thank Cary Bettenhausen of SimXperience and Bettenhausen Design & Simulation, Darren Manning of iAdvance Motorsports. Pitfit Training, Racecraft1, Bell Helmets, and Nancy Chumbley of Hinchman Racewear.
We are halfway through the championship and in 2nd place in a back and forth points race. Next event is at NCM Motorsports Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky on August 16-18. I am also hoping to get some time in an f1600 or USF2000 car in the next few weeks. Thanks for your support! ~Jackson