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Apr 28, 2010 / reports


Virginia International Raceway is one of those “driver’s tracks” as they say… A statement I will have to agree with. It takes some fortitude to be able to hold the throttle down through the uphill eases for just that little extra bit and throw the car down into the ‘roller-coaster’ to get quick lap times and stay up front. Having only been to one other event at VIR prior to this weekend I knew it was going to take some work to get quick. Luckily, it didn’t take too much. Within a few practice sessions and some minor changes we had the car dialed in perfectly and laying down top 3 lap times. It is such a pleasure to drive a car that is sorted so well!

We were consistently quick in practice and definitely shooting for a front row starting position during qualifying. I had to deal with some initial traffic during the session but was able to put together a really clean lap that put us on the outside pole! That’s two outside poles now… I’m searching for that pole now! The Minis really have qualifying down to an art, I’m beginning to think they just don’t want me on pole!

Rain was in the forecast for race day. A look at the doppler radar and you’d have been a fool to say it wasn’t going to rain, thus we began planning the race day around rain. We decided on a pit strategy that was going to require an earlier pit stop than usual to get it out of the way and then hope for rain to help us with fuel conservation. I had a few great battles with the RSR Mini and the Freedom Autosport MX-5 before eventually taking the lead and holding on to it for around 50 minutes or so before coming in for our first and final pit stop.

Ryan hopped in the car and took the lead back from our sister car, #74, after a few laps and put his head down to set the pace and hold the lead for the next hour and a half. We kept looking at the doppler in the pits thinking and hoping that the rain was coming soon. It never came. We had Ryan go into fuel conservation mode, short shifting the car and driving very smoothly. Looking at our fuel tables had us all standing around wondering if we were going to make it. Since the rain never came, we were hoping for the next best thing, a caution. It never came either.

The timer was winding down and the checkered flag was quickly approaching when I heard a call come through that the #74 was stumbling and was going to have to come in for a quick splash and go. I started getting worried at this point wondering if we were going to make it. What shouldn’t have happened did though… We made it to the checkered flag with zero fuel to spare! Ryan and I won!!!!

Standing at the top of the podium holding that trophy was the most exhilarating feeling I think I have ever felt. It will have to go down in my books as one of the most fun and rewarding tracks I’ve driven in my career. VIR will always have a little extra sentiment attached to it, given that it brought me my first professional racing career victory.

Of course without the help of JC Concrete, the Compass360 crew, Karl Thomson, Ray Lee, Ryan Eversley and my Dad none of this would have been possible. A big thanks goes out to these guys!