2015 Season Review - A Year to Remember
First and foremost I can’t thank everyone enough for all of their support this past year. Without it, none of the below would have been possible. As 2015 comes to a close, I would like to share with everyone my journey from sitting in the hospital at the end of 2013 to becoming a Mazda Motorsports Scholarship Driver. The actual catalyst to our transition from karts to cars was a major injury caused by an accident during a SKUSA Pro Kart event at the Streets of Lancaster. After 4 hours of reconstructive surgery on my arm and 4 months of not being able to race was very difficult and during that time I was able to do a bit of thinking about where I wanted to go in motorsports. Little did I know that that accident would prove to be the key event to launching my car racing career!
Major Accomplishments in 2015
- Skip Barber Karts to Cars shootout – 2nd Place Overall
- Inaugural Bryan Herta Career Enhancement Scholarship winner
- Team USA Scholarship - representing the United States in the United Kingdom
- Skip Barber Summer Series – 4th place in the drivers’ championship
- Winner of the Skip Barber Championship Shootout
- Otis Hurley III Cal Club - Rookie of the Year
Spec Miata – SCCA and NASA
My first real step into a monthly training program came at the start of 2015. I became a driver for Louis Thibaut at RM Autosports and began the process of learning to race the Mazda Spec Miata. After obtaining my competition license with both SCCA and NASA, I competed in my first race at the SCCA Double Majors held at AutoClub Speedway with top level drivers. We finished 5th and 7th and knew there was much to be learned. Over the next several months, I dedicated myself to practice days with the intent of increasing my race craft. The effort was met with rewarding results. By the end of the season we also set two track records, one at Buttonwillow Raceway and one at Willow Springs International Raceway.
Team USA Scholarship – Formula Ford Festival and the Walter Hayes Trophy
During the mid-point of the 2015 race season I was invited as one of 12 candidates to vie for a slot in the Team USA Scholarship program run by Jeremy Shaw. This prestigious award is by invitation only and nominations come from much respected individuals and organizations in the racing industry. I was honored to have been recognized as a deserving candidate which took me to Road America during the IMSA Tudor race weekend for a series of intense interviews. I made the cut to round two which narrowed the field to 6 drivers. Another round of eliminations occurred at AutoClub Speedway with another set of interviews as well as an on track portion. In the end, I was selected as one of two drivers to receive the scholarship which took me to the UK for 4 weeks to live and race with Cliff Dempsey Racing. With two weeks of practice we headed to the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch where we placed 5th overall out of 70 drivers. That was immediately followed by the Walter Hayes Trophy race at Silverstone where we placed 13th overall out of 115 competitors from all over the world.
All of this would not have been possible without the support of: Jeremy Shaw of the Team USA Scholarship, SafeisFast, Doug Mockett and Company, Molecule Motorsports, Racer Magazine, RaceCraft1 and all of the other Team USA Scholarship supporters
Skip Barber Summer Series
After placing 2nd in the Karts to Cars shootout with Skip Barber Racing School and winning the Bryan Herta Career Development Scholarship I was set to compete in a very competitive 16 race series with Skip Barber Racing School. This series brings some of the best racers from around the country to compete on some of the most iconic tracks in North America such as Lime Rock, Road America, VIR, and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The top 5 finishers from both the winter and summer series earn a spot in the 2015 Skip Barber Championship Shootout where the winner receives $200,000 courtesy of Mazda Motorsports to help kick start a career in the Mazda Road to Indy. Constant battles throughout the season with competitors made for a close championship season. In the last race of the season coming into Road Atlanta the top three were separated by less than 10 points and I had an excellent chance of winning it all sitting at a solid 3rd place. As fate would have it, my most challenging results came in the last set of races relegating me to 4th overall in the championship. Twenty four hours later I had to refocus and zero out everything in the past as the Championship Shootout was on. After three solid days of competition which included 5 heat races, business plans, media interviews, and instructor evaluations, I was in the zone. We ended the shootout with 3 wins and 1 third place finish (allowing for one drop) and scoring 149 out of a possible 155 points. It was an amazing way to end the year and now we are preparing to enter the 2016 Cooper Tires USF2000 series running alongside the Verizon Indy Car Series.
All of this would not have been possible without the support of: Mazda Motorsports, Skip Barber Racing School, Bryan Herta Autosport, and RaceCraft1.