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Riley Dickinson files his latest column ahead of IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama season-opener…

Photo: Courtesy Riley Dickinson

I admit it has been difficult watching the clock SLOWLY count down, waiting for the 2020 race season to begin.

Finding a balance between school, sim training, working out and some local racing have all been part of the mix. Thankfully, this column has given me an outlet to share some of those times.

Last month was a quick overview of my racing background with the official announcement of becoming the recipient of the IMSA Hurley Haywood Scholarship.

This month, I want to go a little deeper on what that trip to Daytona meant to me. Also, some fun stuff about my local karting roots, workout program, the local chapter of Porsche Club of America, and finally getting back into the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car for the first time since November. All of this is in preparation for the 2020 season that is about to get underway.

Photo: Courtesy Riley Dickinson

Daytona.. Finally!

My first tangible memory of racing is watching NASCAR on television at Daytona. Quite honestly, it’s what initially piqued my interest in racing.

Every February, the tradition continues as my dad and I get setup on the couch to watch the 500. I look forward to it every year.

There has always been something very special about that race and the track to me. After finding out that I had won the IMSA Hurley Haywood Scholarship, the excitement from that announcement was quickly combined with excitement of being able to go to Daytona for the first time. Finally!

I will never forget my first time going through the tunnel or looking to my right and seeing the track for the first time. I was in complete awe!

However, most of the memories after that was of my dad (who was driving) completely freaking out, slowing down and trying to find a place to stop the car so we could look. A few folks were honking their horns at us, and my team owner David Moore and I are just laughing at the whole situation.

Later that day, I had the chance to sit down with Hurley before we did the official press conference. Even though the conversation was only a few minutes, being able to sit back and just listen to what he had to say (racing related or not) was easily my favorite part of that day.

On the flight over to Daytona the day before, I watched his documentary “Hurley”. I quickly realized that being the recipient of his scholarship meant something so much more to me. Being mentioned in the same sentence with Hurley Haywood this year is something I will be proud of for the rest of my life.

Photo: Courtesy Riley Dickinson

Stay Sharp – Pay it Forward

My first ten years of racing was all in karting; it is deep in my veins and always will be. Regardless of it being the off-season, or in the middle of the GT3 Cup Challenge race season, I enjoy going back to the local kart track (see HCKC last column).

My purpose for going has changed a bit. Don’t get me wrong, I am still there to race and have fun with the guys. However, there is simply no replacement for an actual race environment to keep your senses sharp, and the local guys do great job of keeping me honest, and humble.

A big part of my time spent there is helping the next group of young drivers. This group represents our next generation of racers.

I truly enjoy seeing them energized from successful sessions on track, and winning races. It’s motorsports at the grassroots level and paying it forward to this group is something I really enjoy being a part of because I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t have people do the same with me ten years ago when I first started.

Photo: Courtesy Riley Dickinson

Time to SHAPE UP!

Prior to the 2017 season, I never really worked out. But after winning the first race of the season at NOLA, the switch got flipped!

This was my first full season in a shifter kart, and it was extremely physical. I now had the confidence that I could win in a shifter; I was hungry and determined to work harder than anyone else to achieve my goal – winning the championship
that year.

Seat time alone would not be enough. The first thing that I changed/fixed was I started my workout regimen.

My mom had been going to a local CrossFit gym, FitnessLab CrossFit, and she had been pushing me to give it a try. My first day at the gym was on Memorial Day, May 29th…and if you know CrossFit then you know how terrible of a decision I’d made for my first workout!

For those who don’t know, every year on Memorial Day the workout we do is called the “Murph”. It is named in honor of Lt. Michael P. Murphy and we do this work out every year in honor of all fallen heroes.

The Murph workout itself is: 1-mile run, 100 pull ups, 200 pushups, 300 air squats….then, top it off with another 1 mile run at the end. I’ll admit it was pretty awful my first time and I remember being sore for at least a week.

However, that’s what opened me up to how much I could gain from doing CrossFit. Since then I’ve fallen in love with the workouts and going to the 6:15 a.m. class every day before school. It has become another family to me.

Photo: Courtesy Riley Dickinson

Shake it down with PCA at COTA:

At the beginning of February, the Moorespeed team and I went out to Circuit of The Americas for a quick one day shake down of the car. This was to expose anything with the car after servicing, and for me to somewhat satisfy my itch to get back driving the Cup car.

It was very cool to finally drive COTA in a GT3 Cup car; it’s been something I have wanted to do for a while.

If you have ever wanted to see what it is like inside the cockpit of a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Car, as well as a lap at COTA, just head over to my Instagram or my Facebook page and check it out.

The night before (Saturday night) David Moore and I attended the Hill Country Region of the Porsche Club of America meeting.

They gave us the opportunity to spread some awareness of the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama. It was an honor spending the night with this group promoting our series.

At the end of our presentation, David completely surprised me by unveiling my new driver’s suit for this year. OMP went above and beyond making this possible and the suit looks amazing! Huge thanks to the guys at OMP for pumping this out for me. I really appreciate it and can’t wait to wear it for the first time in the paddock.

The next day, several of the PCA members came over to COTA and we were able to give them a behind the scenes tour of what we do.

We really enjoyed sharing some of our racing stories with these guys. The family atmosphere that is present with this group blew me away, and it’s a fun environment to be a part of.

Thanks again to everyone involved with the Hill Country Region of PCA for the hospitality and the support throughout the year! And by the way, if you are a Porsche car owner and you aren’t a part of your local Porsche Club, I would highly recommend joining. It’s super easy to join and it’s definitely worth it! 

Our season kicks off this week in St. Petersburg, Fla. with IndyCar. You can watch the races live on March 14 and 15.

If you’re in the area this weekend, swing into the GT3 Cup paddock and have some fun with us. Race 1 on Saturday is at 9:45-10:30 EST and Race 2 on Sunday is at 11:10-11:55 EST. Hope to see you there!

Riley Dickinson (@RileyD253) is the 2020 recipient of the IMSA Hurley Haywood GT3 Cup Scholarship, competing in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama with Moorespeed.

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