2020 Rookie Season Update
MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. – Hey there racing world, long time no see. When we last left off Cape Motorsports and I had just begun testing for the 2020 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship. After multiple preseason tests at Mid-Ohio we moved into the first race at Road America, and now, all of a sudden, we are just a week or so away from the last two races of the season, this time in support of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., on October 23-25.
The season started off as well as it could have with two podiums out of two races in a great debut weekend in Wisconsin. It was an amazing feeling to get back racing and the anticipation throughout the paddock before our first race was obvious. Mid-Ohio came next and I unfortunately struggled with some incidents that put me back, but still in the fight for the championship. Overall, Cape Motorsports and I were happy with our performance over the first five races.
We then headed to Lucas Oil Raceway for my first ever outing on an oval. It was surely an experience and after having my two days of turning left I have a large amount of added respect for the NASCAR and INDYCAR drivers when they go up on the ovals! It’s an extremely fun and gut wrenching experience as you dance the car closer and closer to the walls. The event went well with a sixth-place finish and best rookie – not a whole bunch more you could ask for on your first oval outing!
In my free time between events I took a trip out to Vermont for a week with a very close friend of mine, Dmytro. Both of us do significant work with photography and video, so we considered it a trip to find inspiration in the somewhat trying times that we’re in at the moment. Vermont is one of the most beautiful places I’ve been, with constant 60-70 degree weather and clear skies. We had a blast all seven days we spent in the mountains.
We had decided one day we wanted to see the sunrise over the top of the mountains, so we set alarms at 3am and went out to climb Mount Sugarbush. With a 2,500-foot vertical rise and a 4,000-foot peak, the six-mile hike wasn’t necessarily what you’d call “easy” and could be compared to light mountain climbing. To add on, we only had moonlight and our phones to guide us up this massive climb, but on the dewy wet grass we set out to reach the peak before 5:45am to be sure we beat the sunrise. The climb got increasingly easier as the sun began to peek over the horizon, but as we began to see the magnificent oranges and reds glimmering onto the mountains around us we struggled to make forward progress as we kept snapping pictures and gazing in awe at the view. As we stepped onto the top of the mountain, it became very obvious this entire trip was so unbelievably worth it. The fog had begun to lift through the mountains below us, making an almost water-like effect covering the base of all the mountains and filling the world with a bright orange tint as the rising sun hit the mini water droplets floating through the air. As it continued to clear we took hundreds of pictures to document the insanity before us. Everything felt at peace as we sat on the edge of a ski lift looking out over the world.
After the trip to Vermont I headed out to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for three more Road to Indy events. Going on track at IMS is a tremendous experience. It’s a magnificent facility and the feeling of sitting in your pit box on top of INDYCAR rubber is something else. The weekend went solidly, with the standout drive being race three coming from 14th to sixth – and nearly fifth if it weren’t for three one thousandths at the line. Lastly we headed out to Mid-Ohio for another three races which were a bit more of struggle. Mechanical issues aside we still managed two top-10s.
Last weekend was a triple-header at New Jersey Motorsports Park where I was back on the podium in a wet race three. P10-P2 felt good on a weekend that started with a struggle.
My rookie season has gone great so far and I hope to continue to improve as we close out the season. The end of year goal is to finish the championship as the best rookie and in the top five overall. As for next season’s plans I’m looking to run the Cooper Tires USF2000 series a second time with full focus on a championship and aim to continue to move up the ladder after that. Lastly, I have to thank Jeremy Shaw and the Team USA Scholarship as well as Coach Mark Green for their support and assistance in making this season possible. It’s been a blast and I can’t wait to send it off with a bang!
Thanks everyone for stopping by and I wish everyone well in these trying times! Stay safe and until next time,