The 2019 season has come to a close. With a short time to look back, it’s clearly been the biggest season for my racing career! I had showed I had the pace to be competitive during a test and the Cooper Tires Shootout at Sebring International Raceway late last last year, which convinced us to run the full season this year in the Lucas Oil Formula Car Series. I was then able to confirm it with a very rewarding first season racing cars. I was able to drastically improve my car control, win multiple races and almost always run with the lead pack and finish near the front. I also made great connections including through the Team USA Scholarship process to benefit my racing career in the future.
The final race event of the season was at Sebring International Raceway October 9th-11th. Three other drivers and I remained in contention for the championship. Despite solid results in all 3 races, I was not able to improve my position finishing 4th – only 22 points behind the leader (454-432). All three races were very close, but the large draft of Sebring didn’t play in our favor. Often going 3 to 5 wide down both straights, it was difficult to strategize the last lap. Race one and two ended with getting passed for position on the last straight (finishing 5th & 4th), and race three ended in a 4 wide drag race to the line (finishing 3rd) after leading the most laps. But, the experience of racing wheel-to-wheel and side-by-side at over 90 mph through the corners without a mistake, is hard to find and greatly beneficial. I gained similar experience with drafting and multiple overtakes for the lead at Road America in September (2nd and 3rd place finishes separated by .05).
Big thanks to my cousin, Mike Ogren. with Protech Racing, for driving over to Sebring from the Tampa area. He has many, many laps driving and coaching at Sebring. He (along with the other Lucas Oil School of Racing coaches) definitely helped me improve throughout the weekend. Also, thank you to Cary Bettenhausen of Indy Simulation for the time on his high level simulators. And, Kelly Jones and everyone at RaceCraft1 and Darren Manning and iAdvance Motorsports for the coaching on the sims.
This season also included a successful debut weekend in the FRP F1600 Championship Series. We wanted to get an idea of where I stack up at the next level and it went very well! I ran with Rice Race Prep at Summit Point in late August. The practice day and qualifying were all in wet conditions, so my first time on slicks and at full speed was in race 1! I ran at the front at times in all 3 races (with the fastest la in race #2) and put it all together in race #3, finishing 2nd to the eventual champ by a tenth of a second.
So now, we are fully focused on solidifying our 2020 program with the possibility of some Winter testing. We’ve been talking with several teams and visited with some of them at the Chris Griffis Memorial Road To Indy test this weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. We’ve also had some very positive conversations with potential partners (and still need to find a few more 😉). I look forward to the 2020 season with my eyes on racing in F1600 and testing in USF2000 with the possibility of a one-off event in USF2000, depending on budget.
Thanks to all of my supporters, and a special thanks to Caldwell Realty in NW Indiana and the north side of Indy, Caldwell Subways in Hobart/Valpo, Hinchman Racewear, Bell Helmets, Quack Daddy Doughnuts in Pendleton, Cabin Coffee Company on US 36 W in Avon, Performance Tire Service Company and Art Wilmes and Rising Star Racing.