The past two weeks will go down as some of the biggest of my racing career. I was very blessed to have the opportunity to go to the Lucas Oil School of Racing which was running their program out of the National Corvette Museum Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Their basic 2-day school is mandatory for one to apply for an SCCA national license, so this is a huge leap forward in my motorsport career.
To start the weekend, we did multiple classroom sessions and car acclimatization sessions to learn how everything works. Then we did some follow-the-leader drills to learn our course. This was a very new thing for me, having never felt anything remotely close to the handling and wheel weight of a full, open-wheel Formula 1600. The hardest part was definitely learning the brake system and figuring out that car brakes don’t work as a moving pedal; they are a pressure sensor which translates into how much of the brakes are used when applied.
After that it was just open practice, which allowed us to find a rhythm and feel how the cars act over the course. One of the best parts was having former and current Indycar, IMSA and local drivers on hand for personal feedback and analysis of lines and driving. Over the two days I learned a lot about handling, level of grip, and other skills to utilize for future racing.
When my dream weekend was over, my dad and I headed back home for a quick down day before starting practice on Wednesday for the final weekend of Eastern Canadian Karting Championship.
Throughout the week, we showed extreme consistency and pace. I knew the weekend would be a challenge but as long as all went well, we would have a good chance of being on the championship podium at the end of it.
Coming into Saturday, I held a slim one point lead in the championship. Being a rookie in a small yet stacked field, odds were against me as I was up going up against a very experienced and crafty line up of drivers for the races on both days. From a team standpoint, I want to give a thanks to Taylor Gates, Logan Cusson, and Simon Belanger, for the support on and off track with setups, strategy, and sticking together to take advantage of the draft and support one another.
“The final race on Saturday was one of the craziest races I think I’ve been a part of EVER.”
It was very interesting starting fifth in the pre-final and jumping to first by the second lap, clearly showing we had a good setup to battle it out. Drizzling rain through the duration of the race made it challenging and led to me dropping back to third place towards the end of the pre-final, giving me a solid starting position to work with for the final.
The final race on Saturday was one of the craziest races I think I’ve been a part of EVER. Getting up front, pulling away and then getting shuffled back through the field during the multiple corners where we entered two and three wide on plenty of different lines made for a very exciting race. Karts were all over the place with defensive precautions being used from five laps to go. I was able to hold my own pretty well, ending the race in fifth, a solid result but not strong enough to hold onto my championship position.
Sunday was a quiet day compared to Saturday. It seemed like I lost my one lap draft pace and instead of challenging for a pole position, we were just fighting to get into the top ten. Finished the session in eleventh.
I started to make positions back up throughout the pre-final. Things were beginning to get crazy, similar to the Saturday final, and this was the perfect place for me to jump on people who were sleeping in the line of karts. I tried my best but it turned out all for none when I got rubbed off through the lower bowl and ended in the same spot we qualified. I had a lot of work to do to the win a championship or, at this point, even hold onto second or third place.
So for the final, I was trying to get on the move early and run down the front pack ASAP to have a fighting chance at keeping my position and limit the damage from my less than ideal starting spot on the grid. I had to run my way down through the mid pack and by the time I got to the point between the front and back packs I was back in no man’s land. From then on it was clear sailing, with the exception of the last lap. With all the defending and passing and two wide racing all over the track I was able to gain one position and finish strong in sixth to hold my second place in the overall points.
“For Sunday, we were going in the opposite direction which I found so much fun”
Looking at this current weekend, with CRFKC #3 and Summerfest on tap, it was really a weekend of fun and enjoyment throughout the paddock. The CRFKC race was a thriller, I had qualified ninth and wasn’t expecting the pace I had through the finals but I was quick enough to be fighting for the win on the extremely chaotic last lap and after a crazy finish ended the first race third.
For Sunday, we were going in the opposite direction which I found so much fun despite the extremely tight first corners which were difficult to navigate through but I was able to make it through all four starts on the day because of the reverse order heat racing :) I was starting first and last for the heats and after a win and a mid pack finish, I was starting ninth for the pre-final.
The final was a very quiet race for me, I pushed away with the leader for almost the entire race and just ran out of passing opportunities at the end of the race to finish a respective second in a race format that I think should be found at the Nationals if there are some changes made to small problems we ran into over the weekend.
So overall, these weeks were some of the greatest yet for me, and I hope there are more to come soon.
Thanks for reading,
#710, Briggs and Stratton Senior