History was all around us this past weekend at the Indianapolis GP. We arrived at the track Tuesday for our regular track walk but it seemed all but regular to me. It was surreal to actually be on the track, crossing the yard of bricks where legends from IndyCar and Formula One have been. The track setting was wonderful, with near perfect weather.
Our first on track session was the following morning. I was feeling more and more comfortable during the 1 hour session but unfortunately it was littered with red flags and we actually only got around 20 minutes of track time. We ended the session p14 about 1.6 seconds off the pace. The following session was much better in terms of track time and I felt more comfortable on the circuit. We made some slight improvements to the balance of the car and we ended the session again p14, 1.1 seconds off of the pace.
The 2nd day brought us to the official practice sessions. The team and I had a game plan as to how to get further up the timing charts and we were making small improvement throughout the day, constantly learning more and more about what changes do what to the car, and how I can change my driving style to manipulate the handling. All in all we made some improvements ending the day in P11, 0.8 seconds down from p1.
Bring on the start of race day now! Qualifying kicked off in the early morning with very cool conditions. Our qualifying plan was a bit different than the rest of the field in order to have a better set of tires on which to race. We started off the session on our used practice tires to get a baseline ready on how the car was. We then put on our sticker tires to try and throw down a flying lap. Being a one car team, it was hard to find anyone who was willing to work with me in qualy so unfortunately the draft was nonexistent. Nevertheless, we kept our heads down and tried to make the best of our situation and ended qualifying in P13, 0.9 seconds off. Starting on the inside row for Race 1, I felt as though we had a slight advantage. We came off of the last corner from what seemed to be miles until we reached the green flag and we were off. We went into turn 1 mostly 3 abreast but we snaked our way through some cars and exited turn 1 in P9! It only took a couple of laps after that to see a full course yellow where we found ourselves now in P8. With about 20 minutes left in the race we saw the green flag for a second time. After some hard fought battles, we ended the race just outside the top 10 in position 11.
Race 2 started mid day on Saturday. This time we started position 10 (due to our 2nd fastest lap in qualy). Again, we found ourselves P9 coming out of turn 1. Unfortunately heading into turn 7, a car in front of us spun and we had nowhere to go (similar to the car behind me who ended up being the car under me). This was just about the end of our race as we went a lap down in pit lane during a long caution period that left only 10 minutes of green flag racing. On top of the large amounts of crash damage on the car, we also took a nice trip over to the infield medical center to check out a hand injury (nothing major, just a broken finger).
All in all, we made great improvements from Rounds 3&4 in terms of pace. There is still a lot of work to be done, but I will be working harder than any other driver out there to put my car up front. I can’t thank all of our supporters enough for making this race season possible. Also a very big shout out and thank you to Colin Queen and his dad (Colin Queen Racing), as well as Jim Jean, and Kyle Kuntze and Jake Craig (Molecule Sports) for coming out to watch our races!
All the Best,