Last Saturday I had my 2nd race with the new 410 car and team back at the Perris Auto Speedway. After how well we kicked off our debut, I was very excited to get another chance back in the seat.
Hotlaps was a really good learning session for me. I got behind two pretty good guys and hung with them the whole session. I was able to find and test the cars limits and this gave me a lot more confidence going into qualifying. I qualified a 17.0 which was 4 tenths quicker than my last Q effort which placed me 22nd out of the 33 entries.
This put me on the outside pole for my heat race, again. This time though, I felt I had a much more competitive heat race. Mike Spencer, Rip Williams, Ryan Bernal, and Bill Rose were all in it, so I definitely had my work cut out for me. I had a good start, beat the pole sitter into turn 1 and gained and early lead. I kept pushing the car harder trying to gain speed. I led for most of the race until the 2011 USAC/CRA Champion, Spencer, got by me for the lead. I finished 2nd to him with a respectable gap between us and the 3rd place car of Bernal.
For the feature, I started last row inside. Again, my goal was to just get laps and gain experience. We did just that. I stayed out of trouble and learned a lot about how to run these cars on a slick racetrack. Towards the end of the race, the car began to smoke due to a small oil leak. I kept an eye on the gauges and all was well, but I pulled in anyways. It wasn't worth hurting that engine and not being able to run the next race.
I'm a little bummed that we weren't able to finish, but the fact that I gained so much knowledge and experience from just this race more than makes up for it. I now have much more confidence about driving this car and I know with the Crew Chief and Car Owner that I have behind me, we will be a force in the future.
I'd like to give a huge Thanks to everybody who is helping me and the Tony Jones Racing Team pursue this dream; Zanzabuku Sports Lounge, VGI Graphics, The Alexander Brothers, Bubby Jones Racing, Goodwine Glass, So-Cal Performance, JDS Tank Testing and K&N Filters.
And a very special Thank you to Larry Henry and Tony Jones for giving me such an amazing opportunity to race these 410 sprinters!