Here’s Saturday’s race day report from Edmonton. On Monday :). I was just a little tired on Saturday night (read: exhausted and my brain would hardly function to brush my teeth!) and with an early flight on Sunday morning, I wasn’t much better yesterday. So rather than ramble on through the fog of fatigue and not make much sense, I though I would wait until I got some rest. And I slept 13 hours last night- so I think that counts as rested.
Saturday was another beautiful day up in Edmonton. We had a warm-up at 8am and it was already well into the 70’s and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. It was a perfect day for a race. We had made some changes to the car from qualifying and wanted to see how everything would react with full tanks in preparation for the afternoon’s race. We improved the car’s handling and I felt pretty confident after the session. I had been in the 3-5th place range all practice and it was only some traffic on my last two laps that moved me down to 7th. Still, either of the Team PBIR cars hadn’t been lower than 7th in both practices and qualifying. We were looking strong for the race.
By race time, the day had gotten really hot. It was in the mid to high 80’s and the track temperature was right at 110F! 50 laps on the rough, quick track was going to be very physical and quite a challenge for all of the drivers. I was very grateful for the drinks bottle I had in the car. It had a sports drink in it and it helped keep me hydrated (until the bumps knocked it loose from its mounting and I couldn’t get any more liquid!). But back to the racing. I had a good start and went into the very open turn 1 in the middle of a three wide sandwich. I got through cleanly and came out in my starting spot of 6th. I was pretty comfortable with the pace of the cars in front of me, and was biding my time. A lot of the race was going to come down to tire wear, temperature and not making mistakes. As the race played out, my Firestones wore out just a bit earlier than ‘Hinch’ and Saavedra ahead of me. However, they were being held up by James Davison whose tires had gone off a lot more dramatically than anyone elses. We had pulled a big gap from the cars behind us, and when Davison locked up his front tires and slid wide, ‘Hinch’ and Saavedra snuck through. I then caught Davison very quickly, but couldn’t find a way past until lap 38. When I did get through, my lap times dropped three quarters of a second and I pulled clear almost immediately. I had one small scare when I was trying to lap Ali Jackson. I misjudged whether he was letting me through or not and nearly ran into him. I avoided his car but that nearly put me into the tire barrier. I managed to save it, get past Jackson and, because of the gap I had pulled on Davison, keep my 5th place. That is where I would finish and it was a great result for the team as we had two cars in the top 5.
Now I am in Indianapolis for a few days of down time, meetings, training and emails before I head down to Kentucky Speedway on Thursday.
Don’t forget the race from Edmonton will be on TV today. The coverage will be an hour on Versus TV at 4PM ET (1PM PT). Enjoy!