The 2023 SRF season, the the Elite Autosports #59, was intended to give Jason some practice driving in traffic and see where is stacks up against drivers with more experience. He started the season with an H-pattern car gave him an additional hurdle to overcome. For last race of the season, Grattan, the car finally got a sequential transmission and there would be some tough competition to test Jason and the car. He’s now going to have to adjust again and quickly as everyone has had more time with this transmission.
He hasn’t been to Grattan since 2020 and that was a test day in a kart. It’s notorious for being hard on the cars, especially the hill/jump into the esses followed by the toilet bowl. Friday’s testing went very well and Jason was looking very fast in effectively different car a more or less familiar track. When Saturdays qualifying arrived, Jason’s car had a dead battery at the grid and would not start. After a couple attempts to jump the car, he and the car and had to be push up the hill to the garage for a jump. He was able get out with 10 minutes left. Despite the chaos of getting the car started he kept his cool and was able to qualify very well and will start the days race in second.
Saturdays race was exciting. The P3 driver was got a great start and pushed P1 ahead of Jason. This forced Jason and P3 to fight for 2nd through the opening corners. For a few laps Jason was stuck in third, until a small mistake allowed Jason pass for 2nd and speed away after the leader. As the laps wound down Jason caught up and started battling for the lead and even take it briefly. A couple of small mistakes in the last two laps drifted Jason back just enough to relegate him to 2nd place. Post race the winner hand to make sure that Jason had the new transmission, there was a little surprise at Jason’s new found speed.
The last Spec Race Ford race for Jason’s 2023 season started off with Jason attacking from the start immediately battling for the lead. Unlike Saturdays race, he had to attack the driver in front of him defend pass attempts from behind. The three drivers ticked off laps with Jason occasionally leading. While doing all of this Jason also had to contend with the gradual failure of his front breaks, every corner he had to make adjustments to keep it in balance. In the final lap he was in second and had an opportunity to make a run for the lead in the closing corners when his front breaks failed completely and he spun off the track. Once again, kept cool and recovered quickly and was able to drive his car over the finish line for 8th place. Unfortunately, his 8th place finish was also just enough to prevent him from winning the SCCA Majors Norther Conference Championship by a mere two points. Congratulation to Sandy on his well earned Championship, Jason in 2nd, and Jace in 3rd.
Thank you to Beau, the team at Elite Autosports, and the SCCA Spec Racer Ford 3 class for a great season of racing.
Next up will be F1600 Finale, plus some news for the 2024 season.