BCRS weekend and taking home the victory in Race 1, I tried to focus on really improving my formula car driving on Day 2 and do my best in Races 2 and 3 while staying clean and bringing the car home intact. We qualified for Race 2 on Sunday morning during a wind storm that brought debris and sand all over the 2.5 miles track. This made quick laps risky and difficult and I was struggling with rear grip in my #14 Formula Mazda. I made a rear anti-roll bar change before the session, but it was not enough so I continued to soften the rear bar for Race 2 and Race 3 to compensate for tire degradation and track conditions. I qualified 3rd for Race 2 and was disappointed with my pace, but I knew I had the racecraft and speed to pass Ayrton Triolo, who qualified 2nd in the #17 car, during the race.
At the start of Race 2, I settled into P3 and stayed with the leaders for opening stint of the race. After Lap 5, #17 started to make some mistakes and have braking issues with his Mazda so I closed the gap, got on his gearbox, and waited for him to make another mistake. On lap 8, Ayrton spun in Turn 4 and I was able to get by unscathed despite having a close call with the sand outside of turn 4. I stayed in P2 for the last few laps and cruised to a 2nd place finish.
This put me 2nd on the grid for Race 3 with Matt Maddox in the #6 FM on the pole. Matt won Race 2 so we were tied for the weekend overall lead with Race 3 deciding the victor. I tucked in behind Maddox at the start and pushed to stay close with him. However, Ayrton in the #17 was fast and pressuring me from behind. He went for the pass on the entry to Turn 4 on Lap 3, but I was able to pull an over/under move on him and retake 2nd place at the exit. Our battle for 2nd place let Maddox check out to a 4sec. lead. I pushed hard for the next 8 laps and was able to maintain 2nd position, but could not challenge Matt for the lead. This gave Matt Maddox the overall victory with 2 wins and 1 2nd place finish to my 1 win and 2 2nd place finishes. Congrats to Matt on the win!
Overall, I was very pleased with my first race weekend in Formula Mazdas. From the advice of Alan Rudolph (BCRS series director and stud karter/racing driver), I switched from right-foot braking and using the clutch on downshifts to left-foot braking and clutchless upshifts and downshifts on Sunday. I started the new braking/shifting technique in Sunday morning practice and stuck with it for the remainder of the race weekend. I was able to keep running similar laptimes with the technique change, but still need to work on my smoothness with clutchless shifts. I learned a ton about driving and racing formula cars and feel much better prepared for the Bondurant Driver Search Shootout next week. Thanks to the Bondurant staff, mechanics, and instructors for making the BCRS a great experience!
I will post some more in-car video when I have time after the shootout.