Our history in St Louis ranges from very good to very bad. This track has provided me with my 1st podium in pro-am, 1st place win in Pro 2 and 1st place qualifier in Pro but also was the only track I didn't qualify at in 2022. This year I wanted to leave World Wide Technology Raceway on a high note.
Thursday started out a bit rocky.. The first lap out, I threw down a killer lead run on the new improved layout but in the last corner my high pressure power steering line sprung a leak. Luckily we had all the parts to fix it but it did take some time and we ultimately lost out on a good deal of practice. Eventually I was able to get back out and get a few practice runs in. The weather was hot and humid which made for a very slick track all weekend. I was able to find my groove and felt good going into qualifying. Our first qualifying run started off great, I threw down snappy transitions and filled all the zones. However, in the last corner I went slightly too deep and tapped the wall which caused me to straighten before the finish resulting in an incomplete. Thankfully I was able to put down a safe second run and get us into the show.
We had a day off on Friday to watch ProSpec and hang out with fans which is always nice, especially because the weather was less than ideal for driving. By the time competition came around on Saturday the weather had cleared up and we found ourselves battling 3x champion, Fredric Aasbo. I knew that I had to throw it all out there in my runs and couldn't leave anything on the table. Chasing first, I initiated super aggressive on his door and made some contact in the first corner. We were both able to hold it together but it did put me slightly off line eventually causing me to spin in the last corner trying to gain proximity back. The judges deemed shared fault and due to the contact we were both able to take 5 minutes to check the car out and verify the alignment was ok to complete the battle. On my lead run I knew I had to stay deep and consistent in all the zones and hope for an independent mistake from him in the chase. When I got back on throttle after initiation the rear wheel dipped just slightly over the edge of the track and into a huge rut that had been dug out by cars all weekend. The rut grabbed the rear of the car and the front began to understeer at which point I lost feeling in the front end. I tried to find where the wheel was at and get the car transitioned for the second outer zone but the car was super unsettled and ultimately caused me to straighten out.
It was a huge bummer, not so much because we lost the battle but because our runs had been pretty on point all weekend up until then. But those minor mistakes tend to compile and can lead to a botched run pretty quickly. Moving forward we are focused on consistency for the remainder of the season as that will be the key to getting up on the podium! Luckily we didn't move in points and retain our 21st position out of the 36 drivers. With 3 events left in the season we are pushing for a top 10 finish overall and will continue to strive for that goal!
WORDS: Alec Robbins
NST - NonStopTuning
NST - NonStopTuning