So much has changed since I returned home from my incredibly eventful six-week journey in England last fall. It wasn’t until later that I noticed the personal growth and the transformative impact this trip had on my life.
I had learned that no journey is complete without the people you meet along the way. I had made outstanding connections and friendships that were forged over shared experiences and I can’t believe how powerful of an impact these interactions had on myself. Representing my country, the Team USA Scholarship and our team, Ammonite Motorsport, was a wonderful experience, and there is no way I would enjoyed it as much without my teammates and friends Elliott Budzinski and William Ferguson. The trip truly challenged my adaptability, expanded my worldview, and paved the way for my own personal growth.
After such an immersive adventure, I returned home to a full semester of schoolwork, which I then completed to graduate from high school. I also began looking at my options for the 2023 race season. With limited budget for this year I had considered several series, and I even returned to England in early March to test at Oulton Park Circuit in a GB4 Championship car. Given the limited resources, I ultimately decided to sacrifice seat time to build connections and wait for the perfect opportunity.
Even though I wasn’t able to have much track time myself, I kept busy this year by taking up the role of a driver coach for Jack Sullivan in the FRP F1600 Championship Series. I continued to use my deep understanding of the F1600 racing mechanics and techniques to pass on my expertise and knowledge to help hone skills and excel in the sport. Not only that, but I found another avenue to express my passion for racing by commentating on F1600 live streamed races on occasion with Jonathan Green. Although I was competing in these fantastic F1600 races the previous year, commentating gave me an entirely different outlook watching from the outside instead of from the driver’s seat. In addition, the coaching and commentary allowed me to stay connected to the world of racing and make more connections outside the driver’s seat.
Going into June I had not been in the seat of a car outside of one test day, but then out of the blue came what sounded like a perfect opportunity to make a move into USF2000 Presented by Cooper Tires. So I spent the rest of the month meeting and calling anyone I knew in order to make the most of it. Within two weeks of the Honda Indy 200 event at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, I had my first taste of the car with Exclusive Autosport in a test at the Autobahn Country Club. I was amazed at how fast I got up to speed in a new car, especially after several months of no seat time.
Making my USF2000 debut at Mid-Ohio, my home track, was a dream come true. It was an anticipation-filled moment since I had been waiting all year for such an opportunity.
Even though I had only had two days in the car, Exclusive Autosport and I had a very impressive start to the weekend – second fastest in testing and setting the stage for a promising debut. We had our goals set high as we rolled into qualifying. Unfortunately, an alternator failure kept us from turning a single lap. Starting from the rear in each race was a challenge, but we didn’t let that bring us down. I passed more than 30 cars through three races and won the Tilton Hard Charger Award in every one. We also brought home some remarkable recovery finishes – 13th, 10th, and a stellar ninth place! Although our results may not have fully reflected it, we had incredible pace on track.
Fast forward to now, I have just arrived in Portland, Ore., for what will be my second weekend of USF2000 competition with Exclusive Autosport. I have high hopes of building on the pace shown in my debut in July and I’m anxious to hit the track again and chase the results we deserve and need.
Portland International Raceway looks like a fast, flowing track with minimal elevation – a momentum track that should be in favor after all of the F1600 experience I have gained through the last three years. Portland is also a great track for me to keep learning this USF2000 car in preparation for 2024.
I want to take a moment to express how much I appreciate all of my amazing sponsors who have made my USF2000 race events a possibility: BeefcakeRacing.com, Airport Electric Service, Doug Mockett & Company, Jeremy Shaw and the Team USA Scholarship, I can’t thank you all enough.
Make sure to follow along this weekend and keep an eye out for more exciting updates from me as I continue this fantastic journey.
Until next time,