I’m writing to you from NCM Motorsports Park in Bowling Green, Ky. After our race at Laguna, I was able to get home for about eight hours for a nap, change bags, and head out here for the Corvette Racing pre-Le Mans test.
It was a hectic weekend out in Laguna. We’ve had good history there, winning in 2013 and finishing second last year.
We rolled off the truck really strong, running in the top three in both of the practice sessions before qualifying.
Throughout practice you get an idea of who you would be racing, and we figured it was going to be between us, the 60, 90, and 01. This race was my turn to qualify and Ricky would finish.
Being the qualifying driver changes your mindset quite drastically throughout the race week. A lot of focus goes into getting the car ready for the race, but this weekend, I was also focusing on making sure our car could be fast over a lap.
We made a few changes to the car that made it a little more on edge, so it was good for a lap, but very hard on the tires. We decided to keep it for qualifying, and make some changes to the car for the race to improve it over a full stint.
We were able to get the pole, which was great. It’s a tough place to pass, so track position was important.
When the green dropped it was a tight start going into Turn 1. I had Pruett very close on my outside and Valiante behind me. We all went pretty deep into Turn 1, and I got a tap in the left rear which put me a little sideways and right into Pruett who was still next to me.
Thankfully I was able to get out of Turn 3 in second behind the 90. It was going to be tough to get by him on sheer pace; I knew it was going to have to happen in traffic.
Probably twenty minutes into the race we caught the GTLM pack. Going into Turn 1, the 90 went to the inside and I went to the outside. The inside line often bottle-necks, and thankfully it did this time. The 90 got boxed in, and I was able to drive around the outside and get back into the lead.
From there, the rest of my stint was pretty clean, leading in clean air. When I got out, we knew we were going to need a splash. The tough part was to decide when we were going to make that splash.
We made our bet when we came in when we were coming up to lap a bunch of GTLM and PC cars, to try and make up some time on clear laps when we came out.
Unfortunately the 90 made it through that traffic pretty clean, and had two or three clear laps which made up time on us when we hit traffic, and were able to come out of the pits about five car lengths ahead of us.
Ricky tried everything he could, but it was just too hard to get by without a mistake from Richard or hitting serious traffic.
All in all, it wasn’t a bad result. Having three top two finishes in a row is just what we need to keep fighting for the championship.
And now, I’m up at the new NCM Motorsports Park track. It’s good to be back with Corvette Racing. I haven’t driven the car since last September, so it’s good to get some laps in the C7.R before heading over to Le Mans next month.