There is a shortlist of tracks that give me the goosebumps just from driving through the tunnel to get into the track. Daytona International Speedway is one, Le Mans is another, and only a couple of other raceways make the cut.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway is definitely on that list.
I remember the first time I arrived at Indy. It was only one year ago. The feeling of history, elegancy, and speed all come together.
I looked up to the grandstands and saw how many seats there were. Absolutely mind-boggling. I went over and looked at the bricks on the start/finish line, only dreaming that one day I would get the privilege of kissing the bricks.
I am not sure how the traditions are for the Porsche Carrera Cup North America at Indy, but I sure hope that this weekend will be my chance to kiss those bricks; for the first time of many.
This Porsche Carrera Cup race will be especially fitting now that Penske and Porsche have announced their LMDh partnership. Those are two motorsport influencers that I have looked up to for a long time, so to be able to be in a Carrera Cup race at a Penske track will be a great weekend.
The last time I was racing at Indy was in a Porsche 718 GT4 Clubsport in the Indy 8 Hour. We showed speed at that race by qualifying second and having the fastest lap until the last few minutes of the race.
I hope we will be just as quick in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. There is a slight course configuration change, so I have been watching a video of the new course – courtesy of Spencer Pumpelly – to try and get that dialed in before I get on track.
Most of the race course is the same except for the first sector. It is always fun to go to a track that you are familiar with, but change it up ever so slightly. It adds a new element and is something that some of us haven’t done yet.
Indy is also a lot of compromise corners. I feel that is one of my strong points as a driver. I grew up racing indoor karts in compact spaces. So that is, in a way, how I learned to first drive.
Everything was a compromise corner and you’re always thinking three or four corners ahead of where you are. Almost everything at Indy is that way. You get to toss and turn the car a little more, and you get to set up passes differently.
You can be a little more advanced and strategic with your passes. Someone might be setting up for a pass three corners before they get to the passing zone.
It can also eliminate some of the aero wash that you get too because then there are multiple lines you can take through the corner.
I am surprised with how much aero wash the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup type 992s produce, in a good way that is. When I’m behind a 991.2 [cars used in the Pro-Am 991 class] versus a 992, I can feel a difference in how much downforce I lose in the corners. It goes to show how much more advanced the aero is in the new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup type 992 car.
With all of the compromise corners at Indy, you have a chance to eliminate more of the aero wash and set up a pass based on how good of an exit you get coming out of the corner.
It makes for tough defending. When it gets close to the last couple of laps, if you’re the leading car, you have only a few options in a compromise section to defend.
The first is to go wide on entry to get a good run out so they can’t pass you on the exit but could pass you on the entry to the corner. The second option is to guard the entry and hope they don’t get a good run coming out. The third way is my way, but that’s top-secret classified information so we won’t get into that. I’ll tell you that once I retire.
All in all, I am looking forward to the Sportscar Together Fest this weekend. From the goosebumps that I get just going into the track, to the layout of the track, it will certainly be a fun, intense, and emotional weekend.
To end on a personal note, I have been staying busy at home and have been getting into taking care of my lawn really well lately.
For me, everything is a competition. I was strolling past my neighbor’s house one day and noticed how immaculate their yard was. I immediately said, “nope, I am definitely going to have a better lawn than them.” I have been buying all sorts of lawn treatment and reading up about how to take care of a lawn, make it look pristine, and claim the ultimate “dad lawn” trophy.
I found out that I have a natural talent for gardening. I now have a great garden of crabgrass, mushrooms, and funky smells.
I wouldn’t recommend you ask me to take care of your lawn, or your fish. But next year will be my victory for best lawn in Athens, Georgia!