Coming off of one of the biggest weekends of my life at the Mazda Road to Indy USF2000 $200,000 Scholarship Shootout presented by Cooper Tires, I am disappointed to not be the driver chosen but very fired up to continue my racing career and try as hard as I can to return next year. There are lots of positives to take away from it: I’m continuing to build valuable relationships with those I look up to in racing, I learned very much from the experience as a whole, and I performed well enough to be included in the final five of perhaps 17 of the greatest junior Formula drivers in the world!
I couldn’t have asked for a much better end to my first year in the sport. Bondurant Racing School did an excellent job with the event and I had a blast throwing these Formula Mazda cars around their very technical race track.
Having driven a day in a Formula Mazda with Moses Smith Racing, despite it having a five-speed transmission instead of four-speed and a different tire, I felt quite prepared for the shootout. It was also cool to get to know the other drivers while in Phoenix and notice how kind everyone was to each other – not how I expected guys battling for $200,000 would be! I really enjoyed looking around and realizing how many countries were represented; it really made the experience even more memorable.
Going into this “offseason” I plan to be as busy or even more busy than during race season. I know that if I’m not working as hard as I can to make things happen, someone else will work harder and make it happen for themselves. I’ve made a ton of great contacts to lean on for advice and I’ve also met lots of team owners around the world now! I’m not completely sure exactly where I will go or what I will do, but I feel confident that things will piece together and I can have a successful sophomore season.
I’ve been fortunate enough to fly straight from Phoenix to Savannah, Ga., to spend some time with Primus Racing, to be around the sport more and even get a few laps in an F4 (photo below)! Jon Baytos and the team treated me as one of their own and were more than happy to answer any of my questions.
Now I’m able to return home and spend a little bit of time in my hometown of Sulphur, La. It’s been an honor to carry that town by my name through this journey thus far. And I’m looking forward to seeing everyone, telling and hearing lots of stories, and keep planning for what’s ahead for me. The only thing I’m upset about is I missed the snow party everyone was able to enjoy while I was away; I would’ve liked to have a few snowball fights!
I’ve met more people than I could have imagined and I am so pleased to have so much support around me now, both locally and internationally. To be a part of the Team USA Scholarship was only recently wishful thinking for me! I’ll always remain thankful to Jeremy Shaw and everyone involved in the program for taking a chance on me and believing in me. A part of my heart will always be with the Lucas Oil School of Racing, and I’m excited to see them grow and leave their mark on the world of motorsports.
To have support from JJRD, Sparco, Bell Helmets, all of these people and companies that didn’t know I existed a little over a year ago is unreal. This is one thing I have fallen in love with in the racing world; if you are genuine and passionate, you will be treated as if you’ve been part of the family for years, even if you are a newcomer.
I’ve made memories that will last me a lifetime, but it is only the beginning. Now the hard work begins and it’s time to assure that my second season will happen!
Happy holidays and thanks so much for reading and supporting,