Aaron Jeansonne celebrated his one-year anniversary in the sport – and exhibited how much he had learned in the UK with the Team USA Scholarship – by dominating the final rounds of the Lucas Oil School Formula Car Series at NOLA Motorsports Park, then continued his learning curve with an enlightening day aboard Group A Racing’s Formula 4 car (pictured above) at MSR Houston.
I couldn’t have asked for a better couple of weeks since returning home from the UK. The next thing I had on my list was the season finale with the Lucas Oil Formula Series at NOLA Motorsports Park. Despite not having the results we were looking for in England, I brought everything back that I had learned and felt confident. I found speed immediately being quickest in second practice and going on to get a pole position for Race One. The draft is so strong at NOLA that I wasn’t sure if breaking away was a realistic possibility, but I was willing to try. If not, I was completely OK with battling with those guys for 30 minutes!
Things that I can say I specifically learned with Cliff Dempsey Racing throughout my time in England were ways to get up to speed quickly, with that being so important there! I carried that habit here and set a pace early in the race to pull a comfortable gap. And after a few laps the drivers behind me began to battle. For the first time in my racing career I was able to pull away in a race, and it was such a great feeling because I know how difficult this is to accomplish. The whole day was exactly how I would’ve wanted it to be after my return.
Later in the evening there was an end-of-the-year banquet courtesy of Neil Enerson and the Lucas Oil School of Racing. I slowed my mind down that night and took a moment to appreciate everything around me. I knew I was creating memories that will last me a lifetime with people that will be a big part of my life moving forward. The championship situation at this time was Justin Brunner leading me by 39 points, and a win gives you 40. So he had not officially clinched the championship and we weren’t able to complete an awards ceremony until the end of the final day. However, we all had a great time at the banquet regardless!
The next day, the competition got a bit stronger, and although I was still able to top both practice sessions and claim another pole, the time intervals were much closer. I felt we were in for an exciting final race. After such a great season, I was going to be pleased with any result, and all I wanted was to have some good fun doing what I love. When the green flag dropped I drove very hard to come out the gate quick, and surprisingly I was able to pull a gap within the first couple of laps as the others began to battle behind me. I paced myself from there and really let the moment sink in and truly enjoyed it all the way to the checkered flag. I never wanted it to end!
Walking around throughout the weekend, I had flashbacks to my first road racing experience exactly one year prior. I didn’t let it show but I got emotional a few times thinking about where my life has gone since that moment, and how special my first experience with these guys was. I only wish Jonatan Jorge could’ve been there to see what a difference a year makes and to enjoy the experience with us. I’ll be grateful for Neil and RC Enerson and everyone in this program for as long as my career goes on.
Next on my agenda last week was to put my second-place championship prize to use and test a Formula 4 for the first time with Group A Racing at MSR Houston. At what I believe is one of the most difficult tracks I’ve been on, and in a quick and physically demanding car, I had a great day and learned a lot. Group A team principal Jonathan Scarallo has been to all of the Lucas Oil races this year, so it was nice to go through that experience with someone that I’ve known and has seen me drive. I’m not 100 percent sure what the future holds for me but I know this seat time will help me.
I am now back home for an actual extended period of time and preparing hard for the Mazda Road to Indy $200,000 USF2000 Scholarship Shootout presented by Cooper Tires. I plan to step up my workout program, keep working on my interview and media skills, and keep taking advice from everyone I look up to so I can make sure to bring my “A Game” to the shootout! Just to be a part of this Shootout is a huge accomplishment so I am not going into it with any true expectations. My only plan is to display everything I have been able to learn since I’ve started racing.
I can’t thank Lucas Oil School of Racing and the Team USA Scholarship enough for giving me giving me as great a first full season of road racing that I could’ve hoped for!
Thanks for reading and the support,