Enough practice, lets go racing!

In October 2011 Jason took his first drive in a kart at 6 years old, over the last 9 years he has logged thousands of miles in kart a driving as fast as he can.  In October 2020 Jason stepped into a race car to participate in his first race.

The 2020 season was supposed to include more car racing when covid arrived and reeked havoc on our plans.   Jason was able to get into a Miata at Road America for his first track time of any kind for the season.  After that karts seemed more of a priority and less complicated.  Having all but given up on cars for the season, I connected with Greg at Rice Race Prep who had a seat available in an F1600 at Pittsburgh International Race Complex. Even better, the race was just a couple of weeks after the Dart/CES kart race giving Jason would have recent knowledge of the track.

Jason and T.J. a fellow kart driver preparing a F2000
The trip started with the usual pandemic activities, me driving and Jason going to school as we traveled.  The first task after our arrival was to introduce the Jason to his car and begin what turned out to be 2 days of getting him to fit with some comfort.  He was a little tall and broad shouldered for the car as it sat.  The Rice Race team adjusted the car until Jason was relatively comfortable and was able to move about the cabin enough to drive and shift.  Though, it did take a good part of two days, normally this would have been taken care of at the shop prior to the race but time and scheduling prevented it.

Jason spent all day Friday and Saturday morning practicing and getting used to the car.  By the he started his first race he was fairly comfortable driving the car at speed and was on the verge of running laps with the leaders.  His biggest challenge was finding the confidence to make passes when we was faster car.   He finished the race in 7th after dogging on the tail of a slower driver for most of the race.

The second race started with slight off as he battled for position that put him, again, behind some slower traffic.  He struggled to pass until the halfway point when he finally broke free and began to push hard to try to catch the cars up front.  He was making ground for the next two laps until he dipped a wheel off track and slid into the wall in the back stretch.  If you watch the video you can seem pump the brakes to slow and hear him have words.  Thankfully, he was uninjured and was able to climb out to safety quickly. The car, however, was done for the race but not for the day.

All weekend Jason had made adjustments to his driving as the Rice Race crew adjusted the car around him.  Jason and the car had bonded and were starting to work well together.  At the drop of the green flag, he got an excellent start but held back as he rebuilt his confidence and felt out the now repaired car.  While the front pack battled hard he carefully made up the gap.   As the race wound down he caught up to 4th and 5th and made bold passes to take 3rd.  In the second to last lap he missed a shift on the exit of the final turn and dropped back down to 5th.  Jason pushed himself and the card hard to try to reclaim 4th but came up just short.  In the end after penalties where assessed he finished 4th over all and 2nd in his class.  Thanks for Greg and Rice Race team for giving Jason a great opportunity. 

Thanks goes out to C&M Auto Service of Glenview, Jason’s very first sponsor.  Chuck and the team have supported him since his kid kart days welding his first cracked chassis and more recently a broken road racing chassis.  They also support all the Wild Duck Racing fleet of cars, trucks, and trailers.