As you may have seen, our team came away from Michigan with a 4th place overall finish. Not bad considering the number of teams we go up against at these competitions, but it's definitely a result we aren't quite used to.
Friday morning started off great. We put in an awesome time of 4.7 seconds on the Skidpad course and headed over to Acceleration. But after we had given ourselves some breathing room, we ran into some issues with the brakes. We couldn't manage to find out just what the problem was, but they were dragging pretty severely all of the sudden and pulling hard to the right under braking. Not a good feeling in the car.
We scrambled to find a solution and get to the practice track to see if it was manageable for the rest of the day. But in doing so we were running out of time. It was mid-afternoon and we had to make the call to skip our second Skidpad attempt, missing an opportunity to improve upon that time. We ended up getting beat out by just two hundredths of a second…
We joined the Autocross session and got our first driver in the queue. But as we waited the track went red several different times, stopping the action on track for oil spills and even an accident. We knew it was going to be close on time. Our first driver got a solid lap in his first two attempts, meaning when it was my turn I could risk a bit more and really push. By the time we reached the front of the line and got the green flag it was exactly 5:15. I completed my first lap. It felt good, but I knew I left a little bit on the table. Knowing the course now meant I could really go for it this next lap. I pulled around for the re-run attempt and waited. The officials just stood there, they were delaying something. Sure enough, they decided to stick to their deadline, leaving myself and a handful of other teams out to dry. We'd have to settle for third place, just a second off of the top spot.
Either way, we were set to run Endurance at the end of the day Saturday with the final group, all the fastest cars from Autocross. I mentioned in the previous blog we were concerned about the weather, and rightfully so. It rained and hailed, off and on all day Saturday. We spent the afternoon keeping the car warm and fixing our braking issues. Finally, around 6 o'clock we got the green flag. From the first few laps it was clear to see the car was struggling, understeering here and oversteering there. It was no secret the wet weather had taken our advantage away. After 10 laps from the first driver, I got in to finish the remaining 10. It was as challenging as it looked. There were probably two dry corners on the whole track, and it was all about managing the driving style to offset the car's balance.
Our performance at Michigan wasn't bad by any means, but it was a good wake up call. We have some work to do and we know exactly where now. Our streak of 7 overall wins came to an end last week, but it's going to be the motivation we need to kick butt in Austria and Germany this summer.
Without a doubt, the real action in the racing world is in Indianapolis this month. Simon Pagenaud is on fire right now. Last weekend's win at the GP of Indianapolis was his third in a row. But practice for the 500 has already begun and the Andretti Autosport cars are fast. It'll be interesting to see how much Chevy steps it up in qualifying this weekend, but good for Honda so far. This being the 100th running of the greatest spectacle in racing, I'm excited to see all of the history and tradition shared again leading up to the big race. It's what makes Indy so special, and there will never be anything else like it. If I had to say who I thought this race was going to come down to, I'd put my money on Helio Castroneves and Marco Andretti. I think qualifying is going to tell us something this weekend though. Remember you can join the World of Speed for the race of the century on Sunday! They'll be hosting a viewing party, watching to see who makes history at the brickyard.