Bridgestone Racing Series Round 2
June 23, 2001
I knew I had to improve a lot to get closer to the front. The question was how? It wasn't like I was taking it easy the day before. The mechanics strapped me into the car and off I went to qualify. For some reason I didn't fit well in the car and it was uncomfortable. One of my right knuckles was hurting too as it was hitting a frame rail every time I shifted into 3rd gear. This is not unusual. I had seen another driver with a bloody knuckle. Fortunately, mine was not as bad.
Anyway I began pushing harder and harder when I was black flagged again! This time it was for "riding the curbs" so I lost more time. When I went back out the belts had also become loose and I was moving around in the car too much.
It became ridiculously difficult to drive like that and it was near the end of the session anyway, so I came in. Again, qualifying was lousy and I ended up 8th.
Between qualifying and the race one of the coaches came over and asked me about a particular corner. We found that I was doing it in a way that was just plain slow. I was silently chewing myself a new one for having my head up my other one and not recognizing this sooner.
Though as a result of this discussion I was much faster in the race. Cars in front of me also fell off the road almost at an alarming rate. All of it was due to driver error.
It's hard to be fast and consistent when your mirrors are filled with other cars! I had one close call where the guy right in front of me spun coming out of a right hand turn. I nearly T-Boned him but ducked left and made it around.
There's a tremendous sense of satisfaction when you know you're doing well. Inside the car, everything else just disappears and "living for the moment" goes from being a mantra to reality.
It was an exciting and thrilling race, sore knuckle and all. I had a blast and took more than 2 seconds off my qualifying time. Two seconds in racing terms is a quantum leap. Still, my fastest lap was 0.65 seconds shy of the fastest lap of the race. I ended up 3rd in the race and the reward for that was a trip to the podium and a small plaque.