Barber did not turn out the way we were hoping. Throughout our practice sessions the Nightrain Clothing No. 77 was consistently in the top 10. I needed the car to turn better center-out to be able to get that extra little bit. After our final practice session, my engineer and I put our heads together and came up with a good solution for our pushy car.
The qualifying session rolled out on Friday afternoon around 4:00. Knowing I hadto get a good lap in early, I waited in the pits and got some space. After the first 15 minutes of the session I sat solidly in P5. I continued to run laps and diagnose my car, but while I stayed on track many of the teams came in for a second set of sticker tires. The majority of the cars that came in for new tires improved their times, bumping me all the way back to P12. This was somewhat of a setback for me and the other drivers who didn’t come in for another set of new tires, but we can put that in the back of our minds for next time…
Race 1 kicked off on Saturday morning. I made up two spots by the end of lap 2 and was never able to get around anyone else, putting me in P10. Since Barber does not have any long straightaways, passing is extremely difficult. With the lack of straights, I was not able to get a run on the cars in front of me, causing me to get held up and run slower lap times. Because I had to run in traffic the whole race, I had a very poor starting position for Race 2.
Between the frustrations of no passing opportunities and running mid-pack, Race 2 was the same story as Race 1. Once again, qualifying proved its importance. I am looking forward to the Indy GP in two weeks. Not only will it be cool to race inside the speedway, but also to be able to be some of the first racecars out on the new layout!