After a difficult time during rounds 4, 5, and 6 with Lucas Oil School of Racing at Virginia International Raceway (VIR), my time at New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP) was a different story. VIR was very educational for me as the track was very reliant on racecraft in drafts because of the two major straightaways. This lead to the field changing constantly as draft packs would push up to the front and send others to the back. I eventually caught on to the fact of racing in the draft and was able to maintain my positions with defensive moves. I walked away from VIR finishing 5th, 7th, and 5th. This had me sitting second in points moving into the NJMP races on July 15th – 17th.

Attending a lapping session the week before, this allowed me to have a head-start on learning the NJMP Thunderbold track. Enjoying the high speed and great flowing track, NJMP allowed me to reminisce to my current favorite race track, Mid-Ohio. During the lapping session, I was able to reach my terminal velocity on the Cooper Tires CS-5 Ultra Touring street tires and be very comfortable on the track coming into the race weekend.

The time was here and I was ready. After a successful day of practice, we were running 1 minute and 32 second lap times on the Cooper Tires RS3-R semi-slick tires opposed to the 1 minute and 37 second lap times we were running on the street tire during lapping. Qualifying one came around and ended up going very well as I was able to qualify P2 for race one of three.

Having an okay start in race one, I ended up running 3rd for a few laps later falling back to 5th. I was able to maintain my 5th place position until the checkered flag. The second race was right after and after not setting a good lap time in race one, I ended up qualifying P6 for race two. Before the second race began, I received some “words of wisdom” from instructor Phil Lombardi about race starts as I was previously struggling with them. It ended up working out well as I was able to gain positions on the race start and work my way up to the front of the pack. After some tough battles upfront, I was able to make a pass for the lead towards the end of the race and secure the victory for race two.

After coming off a victory in race two, I was anticipating qualifying for race three. I ended up setting a great time to start P2 next to Jack Dorsey. The start of the race was great as I was able to maintain second and work with Jack to create distance from third place. After a few laps of stretching the distance from the following pack, a full-course-caution brought the race back together. A frantic restart occurred, and I ended up maintaining my position until I made a mistake dropping my front-left wheel on the outside of turn 11 causing me to fall back to third. On the second-to-last lap, I was able to make the double pass for first in the turn 1 braking zone after a great draft up the main straight. Going two wide to three-wide through turn 2 and turn 3c, I maintained the lead to the white flag. Coming out of turn 11 in the lead, I was able to slow down enough in turn 12 to stack the pack up and not allow a draft pass on me in the main-straight. This allowed me to secure the victory three-wide at the finish line.

The exciting finishes allowed me to secure the points lead moving into the upcoming rounds 10, 11, and 12 at National Corvette Museum Motorsports Park on August 16th – 17th. In the upcoming weeks, I prepare to leave for Mid-Ohio to spectate the Road to Indy races and the Honda Indy 200 Indycar race.


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