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The Art of Adaptation: My Best Weekend Yet

Carrying Momentum

After a great weekend at Chuckwalla I knew that it would be important to carry my strong momentum into this weekend. Historically I’ve struggled at Willow Springs so I knew that this weekend would be a real test to see if my start to the season was a fluke or not.

Friday’s practice day went almost perfectly. I got in 91 laps, the most laps I’ve ever done in a day. I was fast in both qualifying trim and on long runs. In addition, I completed a 48 lap session with no problems, that’s more than double the race distance.

Slicks In The Rain

Looking at the weather conditions, I saw that there would be a chance of rain. After studying the predicted weather radar, it showed only light rain for 1 hour. As a result, I decided not to bring a set of rain tires, assuming the track would dry fast. 

I was completely wrong! On Saturday morning during Practice 1, it rained heavily. That left me with one option, running slicks in the rain.

Pole Position

When qualifying came around a couple hours after Practice 1, the track had started to dry out. However, the rain was coming fast. This meant that I would only have one or two laps to put a lap together before the lap times fell off. 

Despite the low grip conditions, I managed to put a really good lap together and got pole position by 1.1 seconds. On my in-lap, the rain returned.

Due to a big incident in a race before mine, Race 1 was canceled. As a result, I would be starting the Qualifying Race on Sunday from Pole Position.

Intense Wind = Slipstream

Despite having no rain on Sunday, we had a different form of unpredictable weather: wind. On average there was a headwind of 20MPH with gusts up to 40MPH. As a result, staying in the slipstream would have a huge effect on lap time.

Despite starting on pole, I had a horrible start and fell back to P3. I had an intense battle with my teammate but ultimately came short when the Full Course Yellow came out with 2 laps to go. In addition, I had trouble getting through traffic from other classes and could not catch the leader.

A Battle of the Century

Starting Race 2 from P3 I knew that I had to stay with the leaders if I wanted any chance of winning this race. I got a good start moving up to P2 initially but fell back to P3.

I knew that this would be a race where patience and racecraft would make the difference. As a result, I stayed extremely calm and calculated with my overtakes. While taking the lead early would be great, it would make no sense to sit out front while the cars behind get a tow and pass me back.

Lap after lap I had an intense battle with my teammate Sam Spencer, neither one of us gave an inch to each other. It was reminiscent of a Senna vs Prost or Hamilton vs Rosberg type battle. With a tow from him I was able to set a new race lap record.

However, Sam got caught up in a collision with a car from another class which gave me a chance to pass him and take the lead. But the race was far from over.

For the remaining laps, I had to be extremely defensive to keep Christian Hoagland behind me. With a slipstream, he was over 5 MPH quicker in the straights than I was. It wasn’t until the last corner of the last lap that I knew I had the raced win secured. He truly pushed me to find every last bit of performance in the car.

What a Weekend

During the race, I managed to stay calm but on the cool-down lap, I felt my nerves kicking in. It took some time to comprehend how intense that race was. Looking back, this was the most challenging and rewarding race of my career to date.

Keep Pushing

After 3 strong race weekends in a row, I know that our performance is no fluke. The car is fast, the car is reliable, and I am feeling better than ever. Consistency is what it takes to win championships and I know that we are on a special run. Can’t wait to return to Buttonwillow Raceway Park in April!

📸 Donna Wittlin Studio, Rami Garcia, Herb Lopez

Apr 2, 2024


Willow Springs

March 23-25, 2024



The Art of Adaptation: My Best Weekend Yet


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