The summer stretch for the IMSA Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge began July 4th weekend this year at Watkins Glen. These next two weeks were very busy and I'd never had the opportunity to race at two different tracks on two consecutive weekends. A huge thank you goes out to the Freedom Autosport team for their hard work and commitment. Also these were the last two tracks on the schedule in which I had not visited up until that point. Track notes, video, and data from some fellow Mazda teammates made the tracks much easier to learn. Watkins Glen and Canadian Time Motorsports Park are both notoriously fast and involve some very gutsy corners, specifically Turns 2 and 4 at CTMP. Being a student of the sport, I learned even more valuable skills on getting up to speed faster while also reporting on setup changes needed for the car. This is imperative to success on a race weekend.
At Watkins Glen, my co-driver Danny Bender qualified a very solid 9th position. Unfortunately, he was caught up in the first lap crash in which multiple cars were damaged and had to report to the garage for repairs. Freedom Autosport being the team that it is, was able to repair two cars in approximately 30 minutes to salvage as many championship points as possible. Not only does our team stand for and represent the greatest military in the world, but we are also the best team in the paddock. Dedication is the only word to describe what I saw in the garage that day. In the end, we finished 18th with a wounded race car.
Last weekend, the 5th race on the schedule was at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. I once again had never been to this track. The first couple laps were very eye opening to say the least. Going down hill and off camber left at well over 100mph took some getting used to. Track notes, video, and data played an integral part in getting up to speed efficiently. Danny qualified 20th and we were able to finish 14th.
Looking back, there are a lot of positives to be said about the two tougher weekends the we've had this year. A lot of bragging rights go to the crew for being the hardest working guys in the paddock. I'm very glad that I now have experience at all of the tracks on the schedule and I'm looking forward to getting back to Lime Rock Park next week where we finished 6th last year during my first visit to the iconic Connecticut road course.