Coming off this past weekend’s race at Watkins Glen, I am currently standing as the leader in PC for the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup.
Two weeks prior, I had no idea if I was going to have a ride for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen. I ran the first two races as a fourth driver with JDC Miller Motorsports; however, they had their seats filled for the rest of the season, so I was out of luck. Thankfully, a different team, Performance Tech Motorsports, had a last minute opening and decided to put me in for this race!
To recap the weekend – The team encountered engine issues during practice two due to glue flaking into the new fuel cell and clogging the injectors, preventing me from driving laps in anger. With the issues quickly sorted, I went out in the final practice session for a total of about 30 minutes. The limited time in the car was just enough for me to get comfortable but I was not yet fully up to speed.
Our driver lineup had James French starting the race, with me in the car for the middle stint and Kyle Marcelli taking the checkered. James handed the car over to me with nearly a half a lap lead over second place. I spent the first half of my stint finding speed. I had nearly lapped the second place car, until a caution came out and the gap we had built during the first four hours of the race evaporated. I maintained a steady 2-3 second lead over Renger van der Zande in the Starworks Motorsports car before pitting for our final driver change. Unfortunately, we lost the lead during the pit stop and Kyle was unable to overtake Renger for the win. It was a well-earned second place, but we could taste victory and knew we would have won if not for the ill-timed caution.
That was the race in short, but there is more to the story here in my change in teams from JDC to Performance Tech. I have had a relationship with JDC now for over a year and competed against Performance Tech in the Mazda Prototype Lites series last season. I only really got to know the guys at Performance Tech during the 24 Hours of Daytona. We shared some laughs during the very early morning hours of the race after they had just finished fixing their car and were looking for a driver because everyone had fallen asleep. I was right there and jokingly jumped into the car. Lo and behold, seven months later Brent O’Neill called me with this opportunity to drive for them!
It was a difficult decision for me to change teams mid-season as I wanted to remain loyal to the team I had already run with, but I am glad I did. I love both teams and am thankful to still have an amazing relationship with John Church at JDC. As for Performance Tech, I felt the team really clicked together this weekend. James French, Kyle Marcelli and I make a killer combination and I hope we can work something out for the final round at Road Atlanta.
This would not have been possible without the help of the Mazda Road to The 24, Performance Tech Motorsports, JDC Miller Motorsports, Justice Brothers, Donate Life, my family and friends, and the one above.