My Andretti Autosport teammates and I got back earlier this week from Rounds 3 and 4 of the Pro Mazda season at Barber Motorsports Park. We were looking forward to getting down there after our podium at Winterfest this past off-season, especially since we had a rough weekend at St. Pete and were hoping Barber would give us the bounce-back we needed to get our season on track.
We started out strong and even put the DaVinci Foods/Lander Property Management car in P2 in one of the practice sessions. But when we got to qualifying, we made some changes that set the car off-balance and really hurt us. We ended up qualifying eighth, which was not at all where we felt like we should have been.
Then, we threw another big round of changes at the car for Race 1 to try to bring it back, but it ended up even worse. It was a struggle just to hold on to our starting position for all 20 laps, but I managed to pull it off.
For Race 2 on Sunday morning, we decided to take our changes in the opposite direction. This ended up being the right move because the car was a lot better. I finished in seventh but had the third-fastest lap of the race, and that was even after burning my tires off and spending some time in traffic. I feel like if we weren’t in traffic I could have had one of the quickest cars on track and been able to get past more guys.
If I sound a bit frustrated it’s because I am, to be honest. We’re really not where I thought we would be at this point in the year, especially not after the great results we had at Winterfest. I had hoped we’d be in the top three and battling for wins in every race, and that just hasn’t been happening. I know I’m a rookie and I know I should try to be more patient, but I also know that right now we’re really not showing people just how much we can do.
In my last blog I mentioned that I was going to hang out at Long Beach with my teammate, Shelby Blackstock, and it actually ended up not happening. That was my birthday weekend, and I had an opportunity to stay home and spend some time with some family members who I don’t get to see very often, so I opted to do that and lay low instead. From what I hear from Shelby, though, Long Beach was a good time… I’ll have to try to get down there next year.
Now, everybody’s looking ahead to the Grand Prix of Indianapolis. I had a chance to check out the Verizon IndyCar Series open test yesterday, and the track looks great. In the morning I watched from pit lane and chatted with the engineers about what we were seeing, and then in the afternoon I walked around and checked out some of the different viewing spots. It looks like they did a really good job on it, and it should be a fun track to race.
I sure hope IMS is better to us than St. Pete and Barber have been. I’ll be back to let you know how it goes.