Mid Ohio is always fun, even when it’s not.
We headed into the weekend with high hopes but ended up in an urgent care!
Qualifying was not what I wanted. All but maybe one other driver had tested at the track just a week before. Because of my thin budget, I had to sit on the side lines. So it took me some time to get up to speed in my first time there in the USF Pro car. For the race 1 qualifying session, I ended up in P16 in the 20 car field. It was not my best performance. We were running around P6 on the first set of tires but we weren’t able to find any more time on the second set and fell back. I looked at the data and was able to improve a bit in qualifying 2, but not as much as hoped and ended up 14th. I knew that I had my work cut out for me because Mid Ohio can be a tough place to pass. There are only a couple of places to overtake and you have to be on your game to get it done.
In race 1, I was doing ok. I had gained a few positions up to 11th and it looked like no one could move forward any more when the rain came. So, the red flag came out to allow everyone to change to Cooper rain tires. The delay made it a timed race so there were only 2 green flag laps to finish. I was cautious on the first lap and lost a spot, but by the last lap I realized our car was hooked up in the wet and passed several cars. I was battling for 9th when I was hit from behind in the final corner. I know I sound like a broken record and believe me, I couldn’t believe it either. I have to figure out a way to stay out of trouble- or just get better luck 😉
My car left the ground for a split second and came down hard. Unfortunately, when that happened, I was trying to turn the steering wheel. That’s when the damage happened to both my car and my body. The car hit the ground and broke my rear diffuser, and the steering wheel jerked my hands and caused some pain in my wrist. I didn’t know it then, but it ended up being a severe wrist sprain. By the time I got out of the car in the pits, my wrist and hand were in a lot of pain.
So as my team repaired my car, I checked in with medical to make sure I could drive in race 2. They don’t have x-ray machines for the USF Pro Series, but the IndyCar doctors were great. They checked it out and gave me the ok to wrap it and drive in race 2. I was still hurting but gave it a go.
In race 2, after lots of ice and ibuprofen, I jumped in the car and was ready to go. But I made a mistake on the first lap and dropped a tire at the exit of turn 4 (the end of the best passing zone). I probably could have saved it but I think another car brushed me on the rear which sent me spinning. Unfortunately, I was beached and lost a lap – so my race was essentially over. I decided to go ahead and try to run some laps to get more experience. Even though I was a lap down, I passed three cars immediately and protected my teammate’s rear for a while. I didn’t want to try to pass a teammate, so after we gapped the group behind, I dropped back a bit a couple of times to try to run quick laps and caught back up. The good news is that I was as fast as the leaders and sometimes faster. I wish I could have had the opportunity to stay in the race to show what I could have done. After 19 of 30 laps, I was still the only car a lap down and as the pain increased in my wrist, I decided to pull in to avoid any further damage to me (or the car).
I have to thank my Turn 3 Motorsport team. They are truly one of the best on the grid. They always challenge me and Mandy took great care of my wrist. I am glad to be part of this group. I also want to say thanks again to some partners who helped me get to this race, along with my season partners. Thanks to the IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center and End Lung Cancer Now, Race for RP, Browning Chapman, the UPS Store of Plainfield, and many others who like to stay in the background. I couldn’t race without your support and it was really great to see a few make the trip to Ohio to see the race (thank you!).
My wrist is on the mend, but it will take a little time. A trip to the urgent care confirmed a severe wrist sprain and told me that I was out for at least 2-3 weeks-maybe more. We were already considering skipping Toronto because that track produces a lot of crashes and we are already short on budget. My wrist injury sealed the decision.
So, we hope to see everyone back at Circuit of the Americas in late August and then Portland. COTA is an exciting track where Formula 1 races at each year and we have room on the car if anyone would like to talk about getting a bigger logo or introduce a new partner. We also have some options to entertain guests at IMS for Brickyard NASCAR/INDYCAR weekend in August or IMSA in September. Just reply to this email if you are interested.