It’s been said that the journey for a racer comes with a variety of highs and lows—with the number of lows being a lot more common than the highs! The same can be said for my efforts to make the runoffs this year, which would take place at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. This was supposed to be a big event since the Runoffs had not been at this track since 1968.

I should probably be happy that the Spec Racer Ford Group didn’t suffer the same drama as the Spec Miata group involving a mass-protest. Not to dilute the seriousness of the matter, my qualifying seemed to be an equally frustrating feat being that there were so many issues with the car. So not even the third qualifying session would be the charm in getting me further up the field. I got what I got, and started 17th. With a less than satisfying qualifying time, I contemplated hanging up my helmet considering the season had already taken a considerable toll on me. I was flat-out fatigued. My girlfriend, who was kind enough to be my crew-helper, spent a lot of time convincing me to take a second look at the car, keep pushing and go race. I’m really glad she did!

If you watched the SpeedCast’s streamed online, you’ll likely notice there were different strategies that drivers had to use in order to nab a successful result. From crash avoidance to tactical passes, attrition seemed to be the name of the game in the SRF field. There were several incidents in the field, including a sizable crash in the back of the field and some issues taking place towards the front of the pack. Making the right decisions throughout the race kept me charging ahead. About mid-way through the race I was in 9th and on the heels of the driver in 8th.

While the pack leaders were off on their own, the rest of the race would be spent trying to overtake the car directly ahead of me. He was clearly giving it everything he had, driving off-track and barely hanging on to his car on corner exit. I secured an epically close pass on the exit of T10 as he found the sand. I kept tight to him as he made his way back onto the track, which could have ended badly if he hit me. Risk ended up with reward in my case, and closed the race in P8.

While it wasn’t a win, it was at least redeeming in that I walked away with an unharmed car, a 9-position gain and a top-10 finish. Much was learned of course, mostly about myself as a driver. Thank you everyone who came to help me when I needed it most, especially when I was going to call it quits because of the insurmountable stress and frustration. Oh and special thanks to my girlfriend Geri for giving me the push I needed. I suppose the saying is true--Behind every successful man, there is a strong, wise and hardworking woman. Touché!

Included in this post are both the official SpeedCast video and my in-car (front/rear cameras).

YouTube: http://youtu.be/wQSHTHzYmnc
SpeedCast: http://www.speedcasttv.com/scca/#/races/394

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Perry Richardson - Official Website Launch Announcement

October 2014

July 2012