Wow! What can I say? I turned my first laps in an Indy car at Indianapolis today during rookie orientation. It was an unbelievable first day – dreamlike. Something that, for sure, I will remember for a long time.
I came to the track very early because I couldn't sleep. I was thinking about today and wanted the night to go a lot faster. My PR person from Colombia, Alejandro, and Roberto Guerrero, who is mentoring me at Indy, picked me up and all the way to the track Roberto talked about his past experience and what he wanted me to try for the day. I didn't really feel a lot of pressure but I knew it could build up and what he said really helped keep me calm.
When I arrived at the track and saw the car with four wheels and the bodywork on for the first time, I just fell in love. The team worked very hard to put this project together and I really enjoy being a part of this group. I am very thankful for the job that they have done.
The clock was ticking for the rookie orientation to begin, but the day was getting worse each minute in terms of weather. I was getting a little bit nervous about the amount of time I was going to get on the track. Then it was time to go out.
I went to pit lane with Roberto and it is amazing how many people remember him and love him, and very young people as well. That is something that really breaks me up because I am at the side of someone who is well remembered and has done incredible things around this place. It means so much to have words of wisdom from him and Bryan as well. I feel very well prepared just from the people that I have behind me.
I was walking to our pit box and there were already some raindrops coming down, but I was still living the dream. I saw my car for the first time in pit lane and I knew it was real. Unfortunately, it started raining harder and it was quite frustrating, because I wanted the show to start – but I was frustrated in a positive way. We waited for the weather to clear, but that didn't happen. Just before 5:00 pm, we had a break. The weather went the way we wanted and we were cleared to go onto the track.
When I went down pit lane, there was a lot of adrenaline and I felt that everyone was watching me, like “This is the first time for this kid. What is going to happen? What is this Bryan Herta Autosport/William Rast deal?”
I went onto the track and it was something unbelievable. I went through the gears and the power, the speed! It was something I had never felt before, but I feel I can get used to it very easily. There are four phases to rookie orientation but I was already over my first stage after four laps. I was just going by how I felt and they needed to tell me to slow down because I needed to go through each rookie stage. I was just so excited and the car felt so good.
I was having a small problem with my helmet wanting to lift, so I came into the pits to tell the guys that the car was incredible but that we needed to work on my helmet. That's when it started raining again. I only did 11 laps but I was already up to 210mph. I am looking forward to tomorrow. This was one of the most exciting days that I have had in my life.