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MOSES: Heat, Humidity, and Homecoming at VIR

CJ Moses files his first Sportscar365 column following VIR GT America weekend…

Photo: Jamey Price/DXDT

The SRO America race weekend at Virginia International Raceway looked to be a mostly dry event unlike the previous round at Circuit of The Americas. Those that took advantage of the David Murry test days got a good mix of wet and dry conditions.

When the official practices kicked off on Friday the predicted weather was for rain in the morning but clearing skies and dryer conditions the rest of the weekend.

VIR is my home track, not only because it is reasonably near my home, but because I turned my first wheel on a racetrack at VIR with the Audi Club nearly 21 years ago, soon after VIR reopened.

I then went to Skip Barber to get my racing license there on the South Course a few years later, beginning a long string of races and events where I was able to enjoy the facility that Connie and her team put together.

If you have never been to VIR it’s a fabulous track run by a wonderful team, and I cherish every event we race here.

It’s exciting to arrive at your race weekend with amazingly prepared cars and team.

Photo: Sam Cobb/DXDT

The DXDT paddock itself showcases the high level of detail, and professionalism of this team. DXDT Racing’s pre-race prep and attention to detail sets that stage for any of our six cars to stand on the podium on any given race weekend.

Despite the changing weather, track conditions, and on track incidents, this team always steps up to execute and deliver by giving each of us a car that can lead the field, and we proved it this weekend where all the cars at one time fought hard for the lead in our respective fields.

I applaud the men and women who work so hard to deliver the same winning attitude to their car preparation as we each try to deliver in driving towards the front of the field.

With my track experience at VIR and having participated in the DXDT Racing team test a few weeks prior, I made the call with my engineer to forego the Friday morning practice that was under wet conditions.

It was clear we weren’t the only ones that made that call as the track was pretty quiet for the first half of the day. That afternoon the dry and increasing heat and humidity that Virginia is known for came in and I went out on slicks like the rest of the competitors.

Photo: Jamey Price/DXDT

However, Virginia is also known for its rapidly changing weather, and five laps in the skies darkened and the rain once again dumped on the course, ending our planned ‘dry’ final practice session.

Saturday morning before GT America qualifying it was clear, hot, and crazy humid, so there was no rain to worry about but we all were wet from the humidity.

I and my teammate George Kurtz came off the track after running the full session a bit annoyed as the traffic was difficult in the multi-class session. George did a much better job than I, with a P3 starting position, to my P7, both of us doing our best on the very last lap, dodging the traffic.

The GT America race Saturday was the second to last on the schedule, so GT World Challenge America and TC America ran before us.

My DXDT/CrowdStrike Racing teammates, George Kurtz and Colin Braun finished third and Erin Vogel and Michael Cooper won the GTWCA Pro-Am class, which was great to see. We were in pre-grid during the TC race, but it was clear there was a large TC incident requiring a life flight out, and we were glad to hear the driver was going to be OK.

Photo: Jamey Price/DXDT

The GT America race started albeit a bit late, I didn’t get the greatest start ending up at the back of the GT3 pack, but George did a lot better and was in the fight at the front.

I struggled to have enough pace to pass the GMG Porsche that was rather stout, but as I got in the groove, I began to find areas where I was better and planned my charge. Like most plans, fate would have them remain plans and not actions.

Subsequently our race went full course yellow and then red/checkered flag due to another large incident, this time at the end of the back straight.
Once again requiring a life flight, with initial reports indicating the driver was awake and alert, which is always a good thing to hear as the drivers aren’t only our competitors, but our friends.

In the end, I came in fifth, and after a punctured tire, George was able to make his way back up to sixth overall.

Photo: Jamey Price/DXDT

DXDT’s marketing staff keeps us on point making sure we meet our obligations, as that is a big part of why CrowdStrike and AWS are participating in these events by bringing in guests for a unique bucket list experience.

In the margin of the racing at VIR, I and my DXDT Racing teammates regularly have other responsibilities, such as going with our team backup car to the local baseball game to throw out the first pitch, meeting and greeting guests, hosting team paddock tours for Operation Motorsports Veteran guests, conducting CxO executive cybersecurity summits, doing interviews with the VIR Kids Club answering questions like, ‘What’s your favorite Dinosaur?’ My answer? The Velociraptor of course!

Even with all those other things going on the DXDT Racing team is professional enough to refocus the drivers on the task at hand and gain needed feedback to improve both the drivers and cars.

GT America was second up on Sunday morning, with the same hot and humid conditions. George started on outside pole and I grided in fifth place, based on our fastest lap on Saturday. I had a good start as the inside line was moving faster than the outside.

Going through turn one George, struggling for traction on the outside, and I touched doors, but lucky for us it was a square contact that didn’t hurt anything but the vinyl wrap. When things settled out George was in fifth and I was sixth, each with our own race battles around us.

Photo: Sam Cobb/DXDT

I settled into racing the cars just behind and George set out to move forward. This race went the distance and, in the end, after keeping the car on the pavement and limited contact with others I came home in fourth overall and learned that George was taken out after moving up two spots with an amazing pass.

Overall, I was pleased with the results but have a good bit of work to do in order to run with the high-quality racers in SRO GT3 equipment.

I wouldn’t have the chance to start, yet alone finish strong, without the DXDT Racing/CrowdStrike Racing Team. The whole team is highly professional, taking care of and paying attention to all the little details that go into fielding a championship-level team.

This year DXDT Racing is fielding five GT3 entries in SRO, including three in the Pro-Am class of Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS, two in GT America powered by AWS, and a single entry in TC America powered by Skip Barber Racing.

DXDT Racing owner, David Askew, has made it clear that all team members, including drivers, aspire to win, none of us are here just to be in the show, but also understand the effort and investment we all must make for that to happen. The great thing is that we’re all pulling in that same direction and why we ‘Win as One.’

In the end, our efforts this weekend continue to contribute to the impact each driver has on the overall success of the team this season, with ten podiums to date for 2021.

Our next GT America event is in August for the Music City Grand Prix in Nashville, where we have every intent to get the team on the podium once again, and where we will also again host the Live CXO summit at this music city destination.

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