It’s a real pleasure to be able to share my last few weeks’ thoughts with all the Indy Lights fans out there. 2010 had been a tough year for me on the racing front, we had been working extremely hard to be able to get back in a car but we hadn’t been able to find the funding for it. But things always have a way of working out, now here I am, it’s a great feeling to be the one writing the next few words: “Dreams come true if you want them bad enough.”
My decision to join Genoa Lights (now O2 Racing Technology) might have come as a surprise to many in the paddock, but this was a result of a lot hard work from the best group of people you can find.
About 3 weeks ago, I had basically given up on racing open wheel this year. It was a regular day for me in Monterrey, Mexico when Mark Olson (team owner) sent me a message on Skype asking me: “Are you ready?”
What can I say? The 2 easiest questions in racing for a driver are these:
1) Are you ready to drive?
2) Do you want new tires?
So, I guess I don’t have to explain what my answer was. Besides getting to drive again, I was going to get the pleasure to have the backing of a great company, Quamtel.
I flew to Indy on the Tuesday before the Mid Ohio race weekend to visit the Genoa shop. I can only say one thing about this part, it felt just like home, everyone has been great about constructing this opportunity into something big for the future together. The team hooked me up with a sweet Dreyer & Reinbold Infiniti car for the week and I got to drive it to Mid Ohio. The first 2 hours of my trip went fine. After a while, I have to say I got a bit bored with the endless straights that you get on the US highways. Back home, we have more corners, bumps or pot holes on the road which makes it more interesting and keeps you awake (not kidding).
After getting to Mid Ohio I got to walk the track with my engineer Thomas Knapp, I had driven there before so on that side of things I felt pretty comfortable. On Friday I finally got to drive the Indy Lights car for the first time. I have to tell you, getting up to speed after a year of not driving was way tougher than I had anticipated. Most teams had a test on this track earlier this year, so they were jumping on it right out of the box, which made it even harder. The team and I did a pretty good job, trying to learn each other’s ways as fast as we could, but we had little time.
We had a tough qualifying session, I was still getting used to these heavy cars, and we also had a problem with the shifter mechanism which slowed me down under braking and probably bumped us back a couple of spots and ended up 13th.
The warm up went much smoother as we found some speed on the car and myself and made the top 10 (finished 9th). At this point, it seemed like we could manage a decent result for our first race.
By the start of the race, I had jumped from 13th to 11th on the start and made progress as I was putting some pressure for the 10th and 9th spots. After 20 laps of pushing hard to get close enough to make a pass, the car started to understeer and for some reason we just lost overall speed. We lost a position and it seemed like there wasn’t much more that we could do for the day. Even then, when I was by my lonesome at P12, I tried to push hard to find more speed in myself to get ready for the next race (It seemed like a good idea then). With 2 laps to go, I went in too hard and lost the rear, spun and ended the race for us. It was a simple, honest mistake-trying too hard. Fortunately my #36 Quamtel/Racing for Mexico car was not injured. It wasn’t a great result, I know. But I have a great team behind me, and I’ve done the job before, so I can’t wait to get more races under my belt and climb back to the front.
Thanks to everybody out there who is following us and cheering for us. We are working very hard on our side to make sure we are here for a long time. If you get a chance please follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
Til next time,
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