I’ve just finished my one race for the week on Road Atlanta and it was both a disappointment and a success. Firstly, I started 10th on the grid, in last place. I didn’t set a qualifying time for this race and my rank was 9th; rank 10 started the last of the qualifiers.
By first corner I was into 8th and I gained another spot before the halfway point of the first lap. By the end of lap two I was into fourth after two cars made contact, and I’d passed a few more. I was holding 4th well, ever so slightly catching 3rd and pulling away from 5th when I thought I’d ‘drop the hammer’, to borrow a phrase from Col Trickett in Days of Thunder. What a mistake. I dropped it alright, right off the next corner and into into a wall.
I’d been so careful up to this point at lap 6. I felt I was driving well within myself, braking early and getting on the accelerator later, trying to minimise the risk. I’d also had 0 incidents. I lost 2 laps in the tow back to the pits and the repair. I came back out in second last, in front of the car ranked #7. I was also just in front of the car I was chasing for 3rd and the car that was behind me. I let them both through, as racing etiquette dictates but I didn’t let them out of my sight.
I followed the 5th placer closely for the rest of the race, breaking early to avoid him, as I was easily faster.
The lesson I learnt was don’t push hard. It’s not worth the crashing. At least my iRating has dropped, so I'll be in a slower group next time.