I’m a little sad my time in Florida this spring has come to an end. The amount I have changed as a driver is unmeasurable. Over the countless hours of testing and the first race of the season at the Streets of St. Petersburg, I have completely changed who I am as a driver. And to top it all off, I gained some great experience racing against the full field of USF2000 drivers.
Unfortunately, I started off the weekend a little off pace. I was slower than I needed to be. And, with only one 25-minute practice session before qualifying which was significantly shortened because of a red flag, I had little time to fix any issues going on with myself or the car. So, after practice, the team and I put our heads down and worked to get better for qualifying. But I qualified p14 out of 19 for race 1. And while I was able to make up a couple of spots to finish in p12, these weren’t the results we had wanted to start off the year. However, the upside was that I had finished the first race with a clean car and had time to review and learn for race 2.
In race 2, I lined up in p13. When the green flag dropped, I had a great run, but during that first lap, I was forced to the runoff area to miss a crash just ahead. The good news was that I was not collected in the crash, but the bad news was that I had to restart at the back of the pack in p17 (two cars were DNF from that first crash).
It’s easy to get down when something like this happens on track, but I knew I had plenty of time left. I started to pick off cars one by one, and I worked my way forward. By the end of the race, I had worked my way up to P7. I’m happy with how I drove in the second race, but I know there is more potential in the car, and I can’t wait to get to Barber Motorsports Park in late April to really give a run for the podium.
|This weekend I also got the chance to watch the IndyCar race with Mike Linn and Dave Bammert from Race for RP. Race for RP and the Relapsing Polychondritis Foundation are accelerating research and studies to help diagnose, prevent, and cure Relapsing Polychondritis, and its related diseases. I am super proud to represent such an amazing organization and I am thankful for their hospitality (and the view of the race from their 17th floor condo wasn’t too bad either)!|
Our friends Allan and Beth Browning, from Browning Chapman, and Doug Young and John Donnelly from Spruce Haven Farms also joined us for the race weekend! I was so happy to be able to spend a few minutes with these guys and glad they got to enjoy the view from the condo too.
Both organizations have been with us for a couple of years and are an important part of our program. Browning Chapman is a specialty contractor in Indianapolis offering Concrete, Decorative Concrete, Stains, Dyes for flooring and facades.
Spruce Haven Farm makes an amazing immune-boosting cold brew coffee that is lactose free and has 22 grams of protein. (If you’re interested in trying some- and you should- you can order it at www.drinkspruce.com and use Jacksonlee10 for a 10% discount off a $50 order.)
I also want to mention my presenting sponsor this season, without whom I would not have been able to race this season. This year the Indiana University Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center, is celebrating its 30th Anniversary. In racing terms, that’s 30 years of accelerating lifesaving research. We’ll be spending much more time with them in the future- but until then, you should check out all their good work at : Indiana University (iu.edu)
And, of course, I want to mention our friends at Doug Mockett and Co., Caldwell Realty, Caldwell Subways, Cox Beckman Goss, Prime47, and Chernoff Cosmetic Surgery. I’ll tell you more about all these guys as the season goes on.
There is one final group I must thank- because without them, I wouldn’t have found my pace this weekend. Dominic, Nicholas, Michael, Reggie and the entire crew at Cape Motorsports is simply top notch. They never fail to do their very best for me. Thank you for your patience and unconditional support! I’m all in! Let’s go!!!
Barber cannot come soon enough! We race there at the end of April. But in the meantime, I’ll have to settle for some testing to dial in the car and my race craft. I can’t wait to get back on track!
PS. Here’s a shot of me at my first ever Road to Indy autograph session! It was cool to meet fans and get to spend some time getting to know them. Looking forward to the next time!