After this weeks event at VIRginia International Raceway, I have decided I have a new favorite track! The combination of fast flowing corners filled with elevation changes makes VIR an exciting track and a great race.
Because of VIR’s long straights, finding a drafting partner is very important. Unfortunately, during qualifying for race one, we were unable to do so. This put us in p6 to start race one. While the race was very exciting, a mistake put me in the grass ending my chances at a good result, finishing P9. Although I wasn’t able to finish well in the first race it was still important that I push hard for a fast lap, as they decide the starting grid for race two on race one laps. I was able to run the second fastest lap time, putting me on the outside of the front row to start race two.
Race two went much better. I was able to break away from the rest of the field with one other driver, working with him to make sure to keep the gap between us and third place. We probably traded the lead back and forth 10-15 times but didn’t cost ourselves any time to the rest of the pack. After spending most of the race strategizing where I wanted to be on the last lap, I was able to put myself in a great position to contest for the win. Starting the last lap in P2 I had just the right gap between me and the leader to be able to make a move on the back straight for the lead. I was able to hold on to the position finishing the race in first place for my second win of the season!
Now, all I had to do was carry that momentum into day three to get a solid result in the third and final race of the week. In the morning qualifying session, I worked again to try and find a good draft for a quick time. I was able to get a small tow for about half a straight before the other car pulled off to the side. But this was enough to get me a solid starting position in P3. The first part of the race consisted of the top 6 all fighting for position eventually leading to the top 3 being able to break away from the group. I managed to catch back up and get into 3rd, but battling with the other three cars allowed the top two get a big of a gap. I ran in third for most of the race until a last lap incident resulting in near contact caused me to lose one more spot resulting in a 4th place finish.
Overall, it was a very successful week. I was able to improve a lot in my driving, and I got more experience in strategically setting up a win. After the first 6 races, I am currently leading in the points. I am excited for the next race weekend, which is July 15-17 at Thunderbolt Raceway, New Jersey Motorsports Park. We are also working on finding the budget for some F1600 testing and possibly a race weekend to begin working on car setup and USF2000 testing during the fall. I can’t wait for future opportunities, and I am excited for what’s next to come.
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