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SKEER: Watkins Glen Debrief

Elliott Skeer files latest Sportscar365 debrief after Watkins Glen…

Photo: IMSA

Photo: IMSA

Well, that was an up-and-down rollercoaster of a weekend.

Having never been to Watkins Glen and only having two practice sessions led to quite the frantic Thursday. The 40 minutes of practice was purely about putting laps in. By the end of the second session, I was feeling comfortable and ready for qualifying.

Being such a historic town with racing history, I knew how to fill the rest of the Thursday after the sessions were over.

Driving some laps around the old Watkins Glen road course was a pretty eye-opening experience. I really wish I did have a time machine to go back and race on the road course, take a Porsche 356 and some old leather driving gloves and just have at it!

This weekend was not about looking back, though, but looking forward, and I had qualifying to focus on.

Qualifying went well. I put four solid laps in, and I really started to feel comfortable in the car. I can’t remember any major mistakes during the run and was super-stoked when I heard that I grabbed a double pole!

I was a bit nervous going into qualifying, to be honest. It wasn’t even my second hour on the track, and I knew I had to be starting up front to have a good race.

I started alongside Angel Benitez Jr. in the first race. Angel has been racing Porsches for a while, and I knew he would be a worthy adversary. He was able to get around me early, so I settled in for the long haul.

My car was feeling good, and I was strong on the brakes, so I started to put together a late-race plan. That quickly went out the window due to a yellow.

As the race got underway again, a good battle broke out, and I ended up third after some scraps with Angel and Jesse Lazare. It was a solid points day, and I am fine with how it ended. I learned a lot during that race on what both to do and what not to do.

Race two was quite the opposite of the first race. Instead of racing on a beautiful, hot summer day, it was a day more suited for the America’s Cup than a sports car race.

I was on pole again and ready for a solid race in the rain, but Turn 1 after the start would not be my finest hour.

Running on the inside, I spun in mid-corner and had contact front and rear. By the time I had the car running, I was 21st. Luckily there was a yellow due to a spin in the Esses, so I was able to catch up to the back of the group.

I was in damage control for the next 25 to 30 minutes. I was being pretty aggressive considering the damage to the car but was able to scrounge back to a seventh-place finish.

Overall, I was very disappointed in the race, but I was very happy with my rebound and felt good with my performance in the rain.

We were scheduled to have a third race to make up for our missed NOLA race, but that was rained out again. I was hoping to race and to redeem myself for my earlier performance, but that will have to be delayed for another time.

Well, I was happy to end the Watkins Glen weekend. It was a character-building weekend and something I am glad happened, but I’m focusing forward on Mosport and to get the best results possible.

It’s nice to have the races so close again … that break was too long.

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