It’s been a while since my last post and a lot has happened.
Let’s go back to July 14th, which was our NASCAR Pinty’s Series race during the Honda Indy-which resulted in a win for our #18 team led by Alex Tagliani. I spent the balance of the weekend with my Crier media counterparts covering the Indycar race which included interviews with:
Andretti Autosport COO Rob Edwards
Dale Coyne Racing Driver David Malukas
Dale Coyne Racing’s Dale Coyne
Chip Ganassi Racing Driver Scott Dixon
NASCAR Pinty’s Series Driver Larry Jackson
I returned home Sunday after the race to get a few days of work done but also to get ready for a lot of media and promotion for the NPS race to be held at Edmonton International Raceway in Wetaskiwin (just outside of the city). Wednesday night was spent running my CRG KT4 DD2. I took pole and won my race which felt good to keep the momentum going.
We did interviews with Global TV’s Daintre Christiensen, K-97 radio’s Pete Potipcoe, CITYTV’s Adam Ziccarelli and CBC’s Min Dhariwal.
There were sponsor appearances and some private gatherings but then we moved to Saturday which was race day at EIR. EIR kicks off the Western Swing where we race 3 times in 4 days in 2 cities. It’s a very important part of the schedule: do well and you can make a major impact in the standings…..have issues and it can be a disaster.
From the outset, Alex wasn’t really happy with the feel of the car. We’re only given 1 hour of practice which can be a long time if things are going well and painfully short if you’re chasing setup. Our team has an awful lot of faith in each other and we were confident that we’d get things sorted. By the end of practice, we had moved into the Top 5 after running closer to 10th in the morning. We qualified 4th which was good but also meant that we’d have to start on the outside where there is far less grip. We had moments where it seemed like we would be in contention but towards the end of the race the car’s setup started to go away and we had to settle for 5th place. Car and driver were in one piece and we dodged our first hurtle of the Western Canadian swing.
Sunday was free from any NPS commitments which meant that I was able to watch the Rotax Canada Finals karting event at Stratotech Park in Fort Saskatchewan where one of our CRG sponsored drivers Matthew Taskinen was making his bid for a ticket to the Rotax Grand Finals. Matthew ran very well all weekend and finished the final in 1st place but ended up settling for 2nd after a protest gave him a 5-second penalty.
Monday and Tuesday were spent mostly in the office before driving to Saskatoon on Tuesday afternoon.
Wednesday we connect with Alex for a quick bite at the hotel before heading to Sutherland Automotive Speedway which is the host of the Twin 125 races to be held that night.
Similar story to Wetaskawin, the car was ok in practice but not exactly what Alex wanted. Terry (crew chief) and our #18 crew kept picking away at the car….sometimes with a positive change, sometimes the car went the wrong way but we learned from each move. Finally, towards the end of practice, Terry came up with an idea and the car came to life.
We qualified 5th, finished 4th in the first race before finishing 2nd in the 2nd race. Alex ran a very good race and I have to compliment the majority of our NPS field for running very clean, we didn’t have a caution at all in the 2nd race and there was no major carnage.
5th, 4th and 2nd, not too shabby until we look at our teammate and championship leader Treyton Lapcevich’s western swing of 2nd, 1st and 1st. It was also the 1st time that we can remember having 22 Racing cars finish 1 & 2…..it’s happened for sure but we couldn’t remember the last time.
The rest of the season’s schedule is somewhat favourable to us with 3 road courses that Tag typically does well at, we do a doubleheader at Osweken Speedway and ran well there last year before finishing at Delaware Speedway where we are long overdue for a decent finish.
No matter what happens we will be pushing as hard as we can until the end of the season.
Back to my racing marathon:
Thursday was a haul. Drove back to Edmonton from Saskatoon, spent a few hours in the office, then to my kart track to pack and load my trailer for another kart race to run Friday and Saturday at Calgary Kart Racing Club (CKRC) in Strathmore. I spent about 10 hours behind the wheel.
We had 13 drivers from Edmonton’s Off Camber Karters DD2 group make the trip with a 14th driver joining us from Calgary. My run of pole positions ended when I finished P2 by 1.5 seconds….ouch.
But racing is unpredictable and thanks to some mechanical issues and drivers pushing a bit too hard I was able to move from my starting position of 8th to finish 4th overall and win my class which is my 5th win of the season.
I was also able to reconnect with some of my Calgary-based family which included 2 of my cousins as well as my aunt and uncle.
Now, a couple of days in the office and then back to Quebec on Friday for this weekend’s Grand Prix de Trois Rivieres (GP3R), which is, without question, my favourite of all races!