My streak of improving my finishing position is up to 6 races, but it will have to stop there – I won at Mid Ohio!
While I had a great end to the weekend, I had some bad luck on the Friday test day. Practice time was limited due to a gearbox failure, but thanks to the hard work of my crew with RiceRace, I was able to take advantage of as much track time as possible and make big strides by the end of the test day.
Qualifying for race 1 was where I was able to put everything together, qualifying 3rd out of 21. The start of race 1 saw multiple circumstances cause a 6-car pileup (including me) in the first corner. An uneven start caused a lot of traffic and 3-wide into the first turn. Because of this, I was pushed onto the grass and then the curb on the inside and bounced off the curb into another driver and unfortunately, others had nowhere to go. With 6 stranded cars and a significant amount of debris that required attention, the race was postponed to the next day to stay on schedule. This allowed us to make the necessary repairs to get me back on track for the race restart. That being said, the entire RiceRace crew had to work hard late into the night to get the car ready to run. I can’t thank the team enough for their dedication to getting me back on track.
The race restarted early in the morning on a very slick track. I went back and forth for third for the first half of the race, but I struggled with a lack of front grip, causing the car to not react to my wheel inputs. I did all I could to hold track position, but I didn’t have the control over the car that I needed, and I ended in P5.
Track conditions for race 2 were much better. I started P5 but fell back to P7 on the start. I was able to quickly work my way back to 5th. I spent the rest of the race trying to get past two teammates, who swapped spots each passing zone, so I didn’t have the room to overtake. I eventually was able to get past the 4th place car, but unfortunately it was on the last lap and too late for a podium. I had the fastest car on track and ran the fastest lap of the race putting me P1 for the start of race 3 and giving me a lot of confidence.
Now was my chance to put it all together. I had a quick car and the track position I needed. I started out in front, but swapped back and forth for the lead for most of the race. I was quickest through the technical section, but because of the draft, I wasn’t able to break away from the pack. I was very comfortable getting very late on the brakes, which helped me make passes in brake zones and defend the lead. I took the lead for good heading to turn 4 on the next to last lap and led the entire final lap to get my first F1600 and pro win! The racing was great and very respectful. I think there is a deep field of talent in this year’s field which will provide us all with great experience.
If you’d like to check out some highlights from my first F1600 race win, click here or search Jackson Lee Racing on YouTube to watch it on my YouTube channel.