First, an immense thanks to John Lee from Sweep Racing USA. Without you I could not have done it, period. You not only provided me with incredible support but also did an amazing job in the pits. Thanks to you I have my first National race in the books. I am very grateful and this was an incredible experience for me.
I would like to thank TeamC USA for their support in the GT8 class. Special thanks to RCShox, who provided me with the perfect parts to make the car handle so great and reach great speed! With the ball bearing Ackermann bar, the light weight/low rise shock towers and the gear conversion the car is simply a beast!!!
Big thanks to my friend Courtney who loaned me his motor for me to use as a backup. I ended up using it for both my mains. Your mill ran perfectly throughout all the runs.
So I arrived on Wednesday afternoon, first controlled practice day. The day was almost over but there was one session left. I quickly started my car and practiced for a few minutes. Car felt really good and I just cruised around the track to get a feel of the layout. Fort Myers is a narrow, tight track but fun to drive on. The EXP 45 Sweep tires were super fast and the tire wear was ridiculously low.
Thursday was seeding practice. Had 3 practice sessions and seeded somewhere in the middle of the A pace. I was pretty confident in my car and driving.
Qualifiers started Friday (3 rounds) and I realized that my engine was consuming too much fuel and I couldn't do 7 minutes. So my first run was stopped by running out of fuel. Decided to stop for fuel for my second qualifier and put in a safe but slow run. Competition was very tight and my overall pace was just not there. For the third qualifier I setup my car for runtime and the run started pretty good but during the last minute I made contact with another car. My car flipped and it took time to be marshaled and I flamed. John restarted in no time but I had already lost too much time. Saturday was 2 qualifiers and lower mains. I was unable to get a good run in the first. I swapped engines, decided to use Courtneys’ stock engine. Ran it in the last qualifier and we tuned it there. I qualified in the B, scheduled to be run in the afternoon.
For the B our plan was to run a safe and clean run. I drove a clean race and the engine ran perfectly. My friend Rich D pitted with John Lee. They were doing perfect pit stops, getting me in and out in 4 to 5 seconds. We won the B with a lap on the field.
I was beyond happy, as I had been struggling for 3 days and finally got a good run.
The Amain final was scheduled for Sunday afternoon. I started 9th on the grid. Our plan was to run clean and try to move up gradually. The race started good and pretty quick I was in 3rd. But I was driving too conservatively and ended 5th.
This was such an amazing experience and I learned a lot! Being in the B was a blessing in disguise because I got to win a race AND run the final too.
It was a great opportunity to have conversations with seasonal racers that have been racing for years and I brought some great racing tips home.