Now that Rounds 1 and 2 of the Global MX-5 Cup are over, I have time to reflect on the new competition, the new team dynamic and all the events that transpired. With all of the on track incidents, and everything in between, my weekend was interesting to say the least.
My weekend at Barber started off really well, seeing the Copeland Motorsports’ new tent setup, getting to know my new teammates, and meeting all of the newcomers to the series. Going into the first weekend of any racing series is like the first day of school, everyone is excited to meet everyone else, and everything seems so new and interesting.
Unfortunately, my weekend was more like walking into class on the first day and being assigned a 12-page essay. It seemed like we spent the whole weekend chasing a setup that was never quite where we needed it to be, and throughout the on-track sessions, we ran into unrelenting setbacks. Practice went well, the hard-working guys at Copeland Motorsports got a wreck of a car back up to pace, and it seemed like with a few minor tweaks we had gotten the car to perform well. My qualifying was the beginning of my troubles for the weekend.
The drivers at CMS had gotten lined up and ready to run some fast times, but every time we were on a fast lap, traffic would get in the way and kill our draft. We then got split up between traffic and had pitted at different times to adjust tire pressures. Regrettably I didn’t get the lap times I wanted and ended but P9 and P11 for the races. Luckily, it was close to the top group and it put me in a good enough position to have a fighting chance for the lead.
Race 1 was good and clean for the No.01 CMS cup car, finishing in fifth place. The race was plagued with full-course cautions, this caused me to have to make big moves early on. The car performed well, it just seemed I ran out of time to really fight for a podium position. Race 2 was incredibly frustrating for me as a driver. After a huge incident at the green, I was able to make up a few spots and sat in seventh hoping to make further progress.
But midway through our green flag run, our yellow flag system had a malfunction and I slowed, expecting some sort of on-track incident, it was only midway through that lap that I was notified that the system malfunctioned. In that time I had lost the lead draft and the car behind me had made up the gap. After that it was a series of unfortunate moves as I defended my position while trying to catch back up to the leading pack. Struggling with car setup and a faulty transmission lead me to just try and hold the best position I could – ninth.
On the bright side, I came out of the weekend with lessons learned and a whole bunch of new friends! As competitive as the Global MX-5 Cup is, I think everyone gets along well, and I can genuinely say that even though sometimes we can literally drive each other nuts on track, when the helmets come off, I’m proud to call those that I race alongside my friends.
Also, this being my first time racing at Barber Motorsports park was eye opening in that the spectators in Alabama are astounding! There is so much enthusiasm and energy at the track that is sometimes hard to find! I want to personally thank everyone that I had the privilege of talking to, all of the passion from the fans is what kept me going throughout the challenging weekend. Each and every one of you was a little reminder of why racing is so special to me and why I love what I do. Special shoutout to my buddy Keaton, you went out of your way to come find me five different times! Your enthusiasm is something that I am truly grateful for! In the end, I came out of the weekend with two top ten finishes, and a clean car, and that is not a bad way to get this season started.