Moto IQ Rounds 1 & 2
Round 1 – Saturday March 2, 2013
I can honestly say that this weekend was a battle for us in more than one way. With that I can also say that even with the unfortunate events that happen we still put out an amazing effort and fight in both Round 1 and 2.
Last year we came off the track with our best record time of a 1:55.7. As always, I want to better my times. Since then, Dynamic Autosport has made some adjustments to the car and I have also been able to get more familiar with the chassis. Practice went smoothly on our street tires as I began to familiarize myself with the roval course. Auto Club is known for its high speeds and technical turns, and it is a track that I have spent some time at. We decided to save our c71’s for the race, and I qualified 4th for the race. Not the most ideal grid spot, but I was excited to have the opportunity to battle to the front.
Once it was time to head to grid, I knew my game plan and my team was anxious for the first race of the season. We always have flying starts so I knew I would have to draft as best as I could as we came to the green flag. When I saw the flag drop I nailed the throttle and charged forward with Edo, the leader.
I knew I had gotten a better start than Justin who was in 2nd place, and as I passed him I continued to use the draft of Edo. As I felt my car pick up speed I worked my way to the outside as we entered the banking of NASCAR turns 2 and 3. We were neck and neck as we went into the infield, both the right and left handers… We continued to battle as we went into the carousel and I slipped in smoothly right behind Edo.
Although he would pull me out of the exits of the turns, I could out brake him into almost every corner, making the gap between us smaller and smaller. Four laps in, I continued to play with the space between us. The car was running perfect and I was feeling confident. Then, as I entered the transition on to the oval I over-revved the motor causing us to lose significant power. Unfortunately, this forced us to come in early. Although, we did complete half the laps of the race, so we received half the points of 5th place. It was definitely a hard way to begin the season. The team had a great set up on the car and we had a quick lap time of 1:55.1, beating our last best time from 2012.
We wrenched on the motor as the evening came and thankfully got it back on track so we could compete on Sunday. Huge thank you to my team: Eddie, Eugene, DeAngelo, and Anthony for putting in the work that we needed to get us back on track.
Round 2 – Sunday March 3, 2013
Sunday brought on Round 2 and we all wanted more than ever to come back as strong as we could. After the repairs the car sounded really healthy. We took 3 laps in qualifying as it started to rain, and got another fast lap of a 1:54.9. This was surprising to me because I barely got the tires warm. I was surprised to see the battling time that Justin put down, a 1:54.9 as well… but just 0.013 of a second faster. I was stoked, 3rd place grid spot, one of my favorite places to be (if not on pole). I was excited to start the race right behind Edo.
As the pace car pulled in and we headed to the start/finish line, I left just a little gap between Edo and I. It felt like an eternity before we saw the green flag drop, we must have been 40 ft from the start line. The longest wait I’ve ever had to get a green flag! As it dropped I floored it and charged forward just like on Saturday. I was gaining on Edo, and staying in his draft, as best as I could! It was awesome! We headed into the infield, and I shortened our gap as I outbraked him again. We were so close, as I chased him though the turns. Like Saturday, he’d pull me on the exits of the turns, but I could out brake him going in. Something I will consider at Round 3.
As we came around for lap 2, I mimicked his lines through the oval. I knew I could make my move as we made the left into the infield. As I predicted, I out broke him and made the pass as we entered the corner. I took the lead and pulled away. I made a decent gap between us and we proceeded the the third lap. I could see him drafting me… Reeling me in as we went into the banking of the NASCAR track. He went to my outside and made the pass as we came through turns 2 and 3. I maintained to keep up with him as we entered the infield. Hot on his tail we continued to battle. As we went into the right handed hairpin, he locked up his brakes and I got hard on mine. As I turned in a heard a loud bang and felt a little loss of power as I watched him totally pull me out of the turn. Something was up… but it wasn’t the motor, something in the suspension or the steering. It was very hard to tell. I knew we were hurt but kept up my speed as best as I could. We had a large lead on the rest of the field but Edo was disappearing as my lap times increased. Worried to see Justin in my mirror I did what I could with the wobbly, upset car. Still not sure what the problem was, I continued to keep running at a medium pace.
With 3 laps to go, Justin was visible in my mirror. I was praying we could hold on to the 2nd place finish but when the white flag came out, Justin made the pass. I limped the car to a third place finished with what we believe to be a broken axle (something that may had been weekend at our last race of the year at buttonwillow).
Nonetheless we managed a podium finish and set our fastest lap during lap two when we were battling for the lead with Edo, which was a 1:53.7. An amazing improvement and achievement for our team based on last year. I am proud of our finish and happy to say that we were able to fight a good race while our car was 100%.
Saturday didn’t give us a strong start for the season, but with our 3rd place and 6 more rounds to go, I am excited to see what this year’s MotoIQ series throws at us! In May we will be at it again at Willow Springs International Raceway for Rounds 3 & 4!
I would like to say thank you to our partners this seasons Dynamic Autosports for a great set up, Scion Racing for keeping us on the track and letting us show what the tC can do. And of course Hankook, Greddy, FIVE:AD, Reklaw Design, ACT, Seibon, KW suspension, Wedssport Wheels, Mishimoto, Takata, Brian Crower, MOTUL, and APR.
Also, I’m excited to share that we had a full film crew out with us at the event, as well as other media, so stay tuned for some more media updates!