Rounds 7&8 of the Skip Barber Formula Summer Series was an event that I was looking forward to and excited for since I first saw the 2015 summer series schedule. I was just excited to experience a “roval” (combination of a road course and an oval) along with my first night race. Homestead speedway brought many ups and downs along with many variables and challenges. Such as the the heat and a greasy race track. Before the weekend I used iRacing.com to get better prepared which is always helpful, but the heat was a huge factor throughout the weekend with 90% humidity and an ambiant temperature of 95, it was “hot” to say the least and tough to simulate. Going in to the weekend I didn't really know what to expect. The weekend started good, as I took the first few practice sessions to get up to speed and get use to a “low-grip” track with a track temperature of 135 degrees. At the end of day one and running 4 sessions the heat definitely exhausting.
It was a very cool to also experience my first time going around the banking of an oval. Very different but so cool. It was crazy going into it the first time with many different G loadings going on your body. Usually in the car the driver feels the lateral or side loads when going around a corner, with 20 degrees of banking you experience an additional vertical load that pushes you “down” into the seat. The first session of qualifying didn't go as planned. I wanted to make sure to get out there and run with someone else so that I could use their draft to help better my lap time but was unable to link up with anybody. As I was running by myself I made a mistake by getting a little gas and brake and went off at turn 2. In the Skip Barber rules it says if you have a spin or four off during qualifying you have to start at the tail end of the pack. Going into race 1 and starting at the back I knew I needed to get to the front running pack as soon as possible before they pulled away. At the start I pushed hard and was able to get up to 7th place in the first lap! On lap 2 I was able to grab 6th and still stay in the draft with the front runners. As the race went on I was able stay right there behind the pack but with 4 laps to go I made two mistakes in one lap from just pushing too hard and fell out of the draft. I continued to push and was able to close out finishing P6. After race 1, My friends and I ventured out for some great sea food at Snappers on Key Largo. Then I went back to hotel to study how to get that little more out of the car to make sure to be a contender for the top spot in race 2 along with being prepared for cooler temperatures as it was going to be a night race .
The next day was qualifying 2 and race 2 at night. In qualifying I strung some laps together and was able to qualify P4. At the star of the race I was able to pass on the outside of turn 2 to take over 3rd place. Charles Striecher (P2) and I were working together to catch the leader Jonathan Sugianto (P1). Just as we were reeling him in we were gifted with a full-course caution to stack us all up. As this was my first ever restart, when the green flag was dropped I mistimed the jump and fell out of the draft. I pushed to catch them but I just couldn't reel them in and came home in 3rd place and to grab my second career podium.
It was such an eventful weekend with new experiences and so many new variables. I was happy to bounce back to get a solid result. I was able to learn so much this weekend. Thank you to all my supporters and sponsors, Hitcase, Invisible Glass, and Uswag. Also, a thank you to Oswaldo Negri for the help in picking me up from the airport and his support.
The next rounds of the Skip Barber summer series takes me to Mazda Laguna Seca for Rounds 9&10 on August 21-23th. Looking forward to the “corkscrew” and will have a lot more to write about as I will be in 4 races this weekend to make up for not participating at Lime Rock.