Road Atlanta is always one of my favorite tracks. The elevation change and high speeds make it iconic. This year was no different. It's always super fun coming back here and trying to go faster every lap.
Practice started Wednesday and our sessions went great, I tried a new initiation style which helped get the car set up for the first inner clip better and allowed me to carry a ton of speed through the first two corners.
On Thursday I got my line down well and made a great run for qualifying but ended up compromising a bit too much in the second outer zone. It was enough to get us 81 points and into the show with 17th place.
Saturday was competition day and I had an incident on our first lap out which did some damage to the front suspension. The crew thrashed to get it fixed but we ended up missing the entire warm up session. Going into our first battle with Brandon Sorenson I knew I had to try and keep the gap tight going into inner clip 1. He was able to pull a little gap on me but I closed in on him into outer zone 2. Then going back down the hill he pulled another small gap. I felt like I was at a small deficit with the lack of proximity but knew we just had to put down a good lead. I did just that and was able to get the win.
Top 16 set us up against the 1st place qualifier, Vaughn Gittin JR. I knew going into it it was going to be a struggle to keep up to him. I paced him off the line and out of the chicane but once he had open air he pulled away pretty severely down the strait. I did everything I could to keep up. Initiating and getting back on throttle sooner than I ever have on that track. Trying to keep pace with him I came into the outer zone 2 and the car just couldn't hold enough traction causing me to spin. On my lead run I went a bit too hard up the hill and got into the dirt and spun again. It wasn't an ideal scenario and definitely not the way we want to go out. But it's also cool to be able to push as hard as I was able to. Now I know how soon I am able to get on throttle and next year we will be able to come in with that knowledge and be even faster.
It's always a learning experience every time you leave the line. We are sitting in 14th overall in point standings and off to a good start to the season. I'm excited to head further south in a few days for round 3 in Orlando!"
WORDS: Alec Robbins
NST - NonStopTuning
NST - NonStopTuning