The pivotal point in my season was at Mosport. Known as one of the fastest North American road courses, this track can demolish cars and even hurt drivers if you're not 100 percent focused. If ever you're going to “grow a pair” in racing, as they say, it's there. Everyone was talking about our performance after we qualified P2 and then finished on podium twice that weekend.
Remember the pro driver I was telling you about earlier? That weekend he came over to congratulate us and told me that we earned it and we deserved it. I haven't told anyone this before but, when I went back into the rig I lost it. I knew he sincerely meant what he said and it floored me that he remembered what he said a couple years back. We'd been working so hard to deliver the results the crew truly deserved and it was extremely empowering. This sport is unique in that it goes from a team sport, to an individual sport, and back to a team sport and there's nothing better than a celebratory finish with your team (BELOW, photo credit: John R. Walker.)
The championship weekend at Sonoma was a bit of an emotional one. The entire TrueCar Racing team was there showing their support and the pressure was on to perform.
One of my coaches instilled two things in me that will stay with me for as long as I'm a racer; one, that when I get out of the car I can say no one can drive that car better than me and two, that when we walk away from a race weekend that everyone is talking about our performance on track. With this in mind, I'm always focused on the right thing, the performance and how to maximize my greatest potential within a racecar. That weekend I was a solid fourth-place finisher, three times in a row (it was a triple-header weekend) and we finished fourth place in the championship. Needless to say, I now hate the number four!
I wanted more – I wanted to finish in the top three in the championship. I got out of the car to hug my parents, my coach, the crew and to look up in the stands and see a girl named Jessy, one of my biggest supporters jumping up and down. It was then that I realized what this is all really about. It's about sharing moments like these with your loved ones, it's about surrounding yourself with passionate people, it's about the will to drive and the determination to succeed, it's about the fantastic competition and setting goals and it's about taking nothing for granted and giving it your 100% under all circumstances. Of course, we wanted to win, but taken as a whole, this year I really feel like we did win. We accomplished what we wanted to as a team, worked through the blood, sweat and tears together – and we even agreed to disagree many times. We walked away knowing we made the right choices. And for me, I grew as a person and a racing driver.
So I told you that story in the beginning about PRI because, looking back now, I see that my parents wanted to make sure I was completely invested in my dream of becoming a champion racing driver. They needed confirmation because they were willing to put everything on the line to make our dreams a reality.
Well, I am completely invested and I'm proof that just because you weren't born into racing, male or female, it doesn't mean you can't make it – you may be in the gravel trap for a bit but be persistent because an opportunity could be right around the corner.
I hope that I'm fortunate enough to drive racecars until I'm too old, I hope that I'll make my family, partners and fans proud, and I hope that I can help others along the way. So, I leave you with a quote that my dad and I came up with the first year we raced and I hope you can find value in it as much as I do – it's short and sweet: “Fear is a state of mind, will is an action taken.”
Putting everything into perspective…Just as I finished writing this article, I heard the tragic news of 2011 Pirelli World Challenge GTS champion Paul Brown's passing, after a brave battle with cancer. Paul was more than a great racer. He was a husband, a friend to many, a leader within motorsports and a man of passion. He will forever be missed and the paddock will never be the same without him.
PS – Be kind to one another.
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