Michael Myers Racing survives an incident in the first race of the weekend to come back with a top 12 finish on Sunday – with some help from a Road to Indy graduate/NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver
LEXINGTON, Ohio – Michael Myers Racing entered the race weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with hopes of continuing their progress during their first full Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship season.
Despite an incident in Friday’s first race that sent the team scrambling to repair the No. 42 Sturgis Finishing/Metalloid/Myers Garage Tatuus USF-17, the team recovered quickly to earn their second-highest finish of the season – with a little help from former Road to Indy star RC Enerson.
“We decided we needed a driver coach and who better than my coach from the Lucas Oil School of Racing, RC Enerson!” said driver Michael Myers. “We have a great relationship and I appreciate that he came out. I worked with him from the first time I was in a formula car. It was great having him there, with all his knowledge. He really helped me this weekend and huge thanks to the school for letting me utilize him.”
The series conducted an official test on Thursday, with three sessions to allow the drivers and teams to get up to speed. But Mother Nature had other plans, with the track hovering between wet and damp for much of the day – making it next to impossible to make any gains with the setup.
“Thursday was definitely typical of moody Mid-Ohio! It would rain then dry up, so the track was very inconsistent all day. The track is like ice as is, so I don’t think anyone got a good read on their car. We didn’t even go out in the first session, and it was still wet in the second session. It was drivable, but just barely.
“Then in the final session, we were making good progress when the skies just opened. Fortunately, RC made a great call to have me come in to work on strategy, and I was just about to go back out when he radioed that it was raining in Turn Two and I needed to stay in! I got back to the garage just in time. It was a downpour in a very short amount of time and I’m just glad I wasn’t one of them caught out.”
The USF2000 series took to the track early Friday morning for official practice, then the lone qualifying session early in the afternoon that would cover all three races (races two and three form the grid via the second quickest lap in qualifying or a driver’s fast race lap, whichever is quicker). The pressure was on for Myers, knowing that the chances of significantly increasing his time – with 27 other cars on track – was slim.
“It’s an interesting element, having just one session. You have to do well right away, but we weren’t able to finish what we wanted to finish, and that set up a challenging weekend.”
Starting race one on Friday evening in 22nd position, Myers began to work his way forward, up to P19 in the first 10 laps – until an incident on Lap 11 ended his day and caused significant damage to the car.
“I got tangled up with another car in Turn Five and it ripped off the right side of the car and damaged the floor. It was a racing incident, and I know what each of us could have done better, and it was a very painful experience for both of us. But it meant that my small team was once again working late on the car. They did a great job to get the car ready to go on Saturday.”
Myers took the race two green flag in 26th position and job one was getting a feel for the car once again and making sure it felt as though everything was back to where it had been before Friday’s incident. Once he was set, he was once again making progress, with Enerson offering valuable feedback to the young driver at the end of the day.
“I learned a lot from that race. RC highlighted the places where I needed to be more aggressive, really showing me what I needed to do. That comes down to my lack of experience, since I haven’t really gotten the chance to race hard in this series. RC helped re-wire my brain and I was fired up Sunday morning – and it showed!”
Race Three took the green flag early Sunday morning, offering one last chance for the Myers team to make a statement – and they did. Myers started 22nd and carved his way through the field to finish 12th, despite two caution periods that slowed his progress.
“That was the finish we really needed after the last few races. I had a great start, working my way past a few guys that first lap. I made a few more good passes through the race and had some crazy battles. I feel like that’s the first time since the INDYCAR GP back in May (where Myers finished 11th) that I’ve been able to race that hard. I was really happy with that race; we got a lot of race craft out of that.”
The series now takes a “summer break” returning to action in seven weeks at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
“We definitely have some time to wait, but we’ll get some testing done and be ready to go.”
Myers also has his “day job” to keep him busy between now and the end of August.
“I am a web designer and developer, and I do graphic work. I’ve done a lot of websites, and I have a good mix of company and individual clients. I stay pretty busy and it helps fund my racing! So I basically have two full-time jobs.”
Next up for Michael Myers Racing will be the penultimate race weekend of the season, the triple header at New Jersey Motorsports Park August 27-29, with each session live streamed at USF2000.com and the Road to Indy TV app!