Photo By: Kelly Brouillet
Rounds 9 & 10 of the Skip Barber Summer Series took place at Road Atlanta, where the temperature was over 100°F and hydration was a must. On track activities started on Thursday July 21st and ended on Saturday July 23rd.
Weekend Video Recap: www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gNlT3u-slE
Thursday: During my first of four sessions on the day, I had to learn the track having never seen it outside of a simulator. I quickly found my way around and within a few laps I was right on pace. When the session ended I was 6th on the time sheets. During the second session I started to push the car even harder and at one point through turn 5, a fast left hander in which you completely jump on top of the exit curbing, I managed to go a little over the end of the curbing and hit a bump just right that it sent the back of the car flying into the air. All was good as the back end just came back down and I continued, but a close call none the less. The rest of the day was fairly un eventful, as I just continued to work the draft and climb the time sheets. I ended the day P3.
Friday: Qualifying was first thing Friday morning. I had 18 minutes to manage a quick lap, and on my first lap I put out a time that would have been good for 2nd without using the draft. However when I managed to get a draft lap in it was good enough for pole by 3 tenths of a second. This was my 2nd pole of the season.
Qualifying Results: www.mylaps.com/results/showrun.jsp?id=1990199
Friday afternoon saw my first race of the weekend. I started on pole and got a good enough start to hold the lead until the back straight. At that point the draft proved to erase any lead I could manage to gain throughout the rest of the lap. I battled for the lead nonstop for most of the race. Near the end I found myself in 4th place and coming onto the back straight on the last lap I used the draft to get side by side for the lead into the hardest braking zone on the track, turn 10. As I pushed the brake zone to the limit, the person to my right went even further into the brake zone, locking up a tire and barley keeping it on the road. This allowed me to battle around the outside and gain the lead coming down the hill to the finish line. I crossed the line a mere 3 tenths in front of second place, claiming the second win of the season. It was also my second in a row!
Race 1 Video Recap: www.youtube.com/watch?v=vz8lDpcygEY
Race 1 Results: www.mylaps.com/results/showrun.jsp?id=1990200
Saturday: Once again I started on pole for Sundays race, and this time I managed a great start. By turn 1 I had a four car length advantage, but by the time the back straight came it was all but erased. Just like the day before the draft proved too strong to keep a lead for a whole lap. So I decided to hang back and wait for the end of the race to continue mixing it up for the lead. At the end of the straight on the second lap I was passed for 4th position but when we broke for turn 10 there was contract right in front of me that I avoided. This put me back into the 4th position. A few laps later I got an opportunity to take back the lead. Once I had it I hit all my marks and pulled a gap just big enough so that the field just caught me by the end of the back straight. I was able to keep the lead going through turn 10, while there was a side by side battle going on for second. This allowed me to pull a lead just big enough to break the draft. I drove the car as hard as I could every lap from that point on. My lead began to increase rapidly with the field still battling behind me. I ran 9 laps in a row all within three quarters of a second, the fastest of which was just 5 tenths off my qualifying time in the draft. With 3 laps to go there was contact back in the field that forced a full course caution. This erased my lead completely but luckily the race was to end under caution and I crossed the finish line to claim my 3rd win in a row!
Race 2 Video Recap: www.youtube.com/watch?v=YB1qTtKu1lI
Race 2 Results: www.mylaps.com/results/showrun.jsp?id=1990201
The weekend could not have gone any better. Thanks to my coach Michael Valiante who helped guide me to two wins in a row. Thanks to Skip Barber Racing School, Race Energy, Analytic Systems, MAZDASPEED Motorsports, Petrol Polarized Driving Eyewear and my parents for providing me this opportunity. Next stop in Lime Rock, where I've had success in the past and look forward to going back!