Sebring International Raceway: November 29th - December 1st
I left for Sebring on Thanksgiving Day with my team, Robinson Motorsports. Honestly when I left for Sebring I was extremely nervous for many reasons. Any first race when a young driver makes the transition from karting to cars is important. Especially when the driver is trying to make a professional career of being a racing driver. I was looking at the entry list as I was on the way to Sebring and my class, a mix of three or so classes was packed full with Spec Racer Fords. Many of the Spec Racer Ford drivers were seasoned with years or even decades of experience. There were even a few national champions tossed in the mix, making the field even more competitive. The entry list made me more determined rather than nervous, it contributed to my confidence for the weekend.
On Saturday, I qualified 28th out of 44 cars with the slight feeling that the car was a bit under powered when I up-shifted through the gears. I remember Mick(the team owner) telling me at the end of the day that it sounded like I was shifting early, which of course is never a good thing. It wasn't til I mentioned the problem to my engineer, Mark, that we actually found out the reason behind the lack of power. For what ever reason the tachometer(tells you the RPM the engine is running at) was reading 1000 RPM faster than it actually was. We didn't have time to switch out the tachometer before the first race so we left it be until after race one was over.
It started to drizzle during the pace lap of race one, making the track slick as ice in several of the corners. I made an excellent start, jumping four or five places before even making it into turn one. The whole group made it to the hairpin, before the chaos ensued. A few cars were spinning several cars ahead of me at the entrance of the hairpin. Other cars took the "escape" route, an old portion of the circuit used as run-off in case of over-shooting the hairpin. Fortunately I made it through perfectly fine and went on to making a 17 car run up through the field. It was the most fun I have ever had in my life to say the least. My nervousness was completely gone by this point, only confidence and pride remained.
Race two didn't go quite as well as I had hoped it would. We replaced the tachometer with a new one in the time we had between races. Everything seemed fine until the pace lap. The tachometer would rev up to 4,000 RPM and would shoot straight to 7,000 giving me a large margin of mistake for shifting. This put me in a difficult spot, I could be taxing the engine and gearbox too much, damaging it or on the other hand shifting too early and losing valuable power on the straights. I was forced to retire with those two thoughts running through my head. Not exactly the best way to end my first racing event, though I have the confidence and confirmation I needed to jump start my career in cars.
While there might not be much going on in the month of December, there is a few developments going on with the site. Starting with the new homepage, which is a current work in progress and will be under development for a few months until it is perfected. I have also taken the first event, which was at Palm Beach International Raceway, off the schedule because of a few conflicts.
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