Road America Race Recap – Rounds 13, 14, and 15

Coming into Lucas Oil School of Racing rounds 13, 14, and 15 at Road America with the points lead built some comfort, but I knew it was going to be a challenge. My time at National Corvette Museum (NCM) went well as I was able to secure a podium finish in the third race, but I was unable to finish where I would have liked in the other races. This had me determined to finish well at Road America to stretch the points lead before the finale at Sebring International Raceway October 9 – 11.

Arriving at the track on Monday, we got settled into our cars and prepared for the first practice session of the day. There was some serious fog that morning and caused the track to be a bit slippery, but that just made it even more fun on the Cooper Tires RS3-R semi-slick tires. Throughout the first practice session, I noticed I was unable to control the car under initial breaking. The front left was continuously locking up which caused me to crank the break bias way back to make the car drivable. The mechanics made a few changes to help the situation, but we were unable to get it fixed between the sessions due to lack of time. As I was roughly 1.2 seconds off the pace due to the issue, I was allowed to switch cars for the next day.

Tuesday was the big day. We had a practice session, qualifying session, and two races. The fog was even worse and caused the sessions to be delayed for roughly an hour. When practice started, I adapted to the new car quickly and was back on pace for qualifying. Qualifying was a blast as everyone was playing with the extreme draft Road America presents to attempt to set a good lap time. Fortunately, I loved the new car and was able to set a decent qualifying time to start P4 for the first race.

After lunch, it was time for the race. After gridding up and completing our pace lap, the green flag was thrown. I was able to hold the outside line going into turn one and secure the third-place position on the first lap. Us front three drivers were able to create a good gap from the rest of the pack until a full-course caution came out and bunched us back together. Some great battles took place and I, unfortunately, fell back to finish the race in 4th.

Qualifying for race two was based on our lap times in the first race and with all of the battling taking place, we did not have fast lap times in the front pack. I was set to start P6 in the second race. Being mid-pack on the start had its benefits as I was able to use the draft to my advantage to get up to the front. After working my way through, I was able to get to P2 on the last lap but lost it before the finish as I was trying to set up a draft for 1st. I ended up finishing 3rd to wrap up the day.

On Wednesday, we had a qualifying session and our third race. This qualifying session was interesting as we all were playing “games”. I was unable to get a clear fast lap which resulted for me qualifying P6. On the start of the third race, I was able to maintain my position until I received contact going into turn 5. This required us involved to make a pit stop for a safety check or be faced with a 30-second penalty. A full-course caution came out as a driver wrecked in The Kink (turn 11), so I decided to make the pit stop then and get back to the pack. Coming from the back, I was able to work my way through and finish in 6th.

My time at Road America was a blast, but I was hoping for better results. Now I maintain a 1-point lead in the championship moving into the finale at Sebring International Raceway. It will be a fight for the championship and I will be coming in charging.