It has become our league’s standard for our races at Phoenix to have quite a few cautions at the start and then generally a long green flag run. This seasons opener at the one-mile oval in Arizona was no exception.
We had a decent sized field of 28 drivers show up to take to the track and practice showed (with multiple crashes) that this was going to be a race of attrition. Qualifying was as close as ever with the top three drivers being seperated by less than a tenth of a second. Yang Ou started the season off with bonus points by taking the pole with John Paquin, Tim Holgate, Tim Doyle, and Larry Foyt filling out the rest of the top 5. I made a small mistake in qualifying which slowed what should have been my fastest lap resulting in a disappointing 10th place starting position.
Lap 1 of the race didn’t last very long as the caution came out before we’d even made it down the backstretch. I assumed it was going to be a long race and settled in, preparing myself for multiple cautions. When we went back to green flag racing Firestone Indy Lights driver James Davison and Firestone Indy Lights Manager of Business Development Tony George Jr. made it three-wide as they took an aggressive line to my inside. I lifted and let them through. As we came back around the next lap James’ car began to understeer resulting in a late spin. I was about 8 inches off Tony’s gearbox and tried to pick the correct line through. Unfortunately James came back across the track and collected me ending my race on lap 7. A disappointing result as I felt I had one of the best cars on track.