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Pole Position to Injury: A Weekend of Challenges

An Exciting Weekend Ahead

Following my win in January I went into this weekend more excited than ever before. I am feeling at one with the car and am coming off my best result in Spec Miata.

This weekend not only marked the start of the NASA SoCal season but it was also my first time racing Spec Miata in a big field with over 30 cars.

Another Good Start

Friday’s practice sessions went extremely well, feeling confident with the car from the very first laps. As a matter of fact, we didn’t even need to make a single setup change to the car. Straight out of the box, we were fast. Very fast.

Proving A Point

Coming off a win and having had a really strong Friday, could I prove that my recent pace was no fluke? I finished Practice 1, P2, just 24 thousandths from the leader.

To date, qualifying has not been my strength. Up to this point, I had only achieved one pole position in my entire race career. But with a field of 30+, on a track that is difficult to pass like Chuckwalla, I knew qualifying would be everything.

We set up the car for qualifying trim with a low fuel load, new tires, and made sure that I had optimal track position. I ended up putting together one of the best laps of my career earning my first pole position in Spec Miata by just 71 thousandths of a second!

A Missed Opportunity

With this being my first pole, it was also my first time controlling the race start. Unfortunately, I led the field to green too slowly and was in the wrong gear, which resulted in an awful start falling back to P6. Now I made my job much more difficult.

I ended up climbing all the way back up to P2 closing in on the leader at every turn. During my charge through the field, I set a new race lap record. I know every racing driver says this, but “If I had one more lap I would have had him.” Toward the end of the race I was lapping over a full second faster but the chequered flag came out and the race was over.

That race was mine to lose and I lost it. Painful. But P2 still scores us good points in the championship.

Post Race Injury

Following Race 1 later that evening, I smashed my elbow into a door while carrying my race gear. I had severe swelling, only around 10 degrees of motion in my elbow instead of the normal 150 degrees, and lost all strength in my left arm.

With Spec Miatas having no power steering and a manual transmission, having both arms is critical. How in the world was I going to race?


With only one arm operating at 100% I needed assistance putting on all of my race gear and getting in and out of the car. I was only able to control the steering with my right arm, I had no feel for the direction of the front wheels and was in extreme pain. In Practice 2, I was a full 2 seconds slower than on Saturday.

So grateful this track has a medical center and following the session I went to get checked out. After taking some anti-inflammatories, using lots of ice, and constantly monitoring the swelling, the pain was starting to come down.

A Turn-Around

Despite still primarily driving one-handed, I finished Qualifying 2, P2, a tenth and a half off of pole. At this point, I knew that I could still drive fast despite the pain.

I started the race P2, got a great reaction, and selected the right gear this time, but still couldn’t take the lead in the race. The leader ended up pulling a 4-second gap which I couldn’t close until towards the end of the race.

With my pace not being as strong due to the injury I had to play a strategic game of defense with a train of cars behind me. Lap after lap, I continued to make my car as wide as possible, not letting anyone through. The chequered flag finally came out, and I secured P2.

On A Roll

This weekend pushed me to new limits both physically and mentally. I am coming away feeling more confident than ever knowing even on my worst day physically, almost driving one-handed, I could hold my own against 29 other drivers.

Now it's time to get another win at next month’s round at Willow Springs!

Feb 21, 2024



February 16-18, 2024



Pole Position to Injury: A Weekend of Challenges


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