With it being the only "single" race on our schedule (rather than double-header), as well as the only oval, it was a very different challenge in terms of driving technique, setup, qualifying, etc.
After a solid test day at the track earlier in the month, we felt comfortable heading into the weekend. In Friday testing and Saturday morning practice we were solidly in the top 5 cars and looking forward to challenging for a top spot on Saturday night.
The whole experience was fantastic, but drawing as the last driver to go in my first single-car qualifying session may have been one of the coolest things I have done in a racecar thus far. Although we only had enough speed for P9 of 24 on the grid, pushing yourself to the limit for two laps on the oval was some of the most rewarding ragged-edge driving I've had a chance to do.
Although we felt good about our car in the long race-run, things didn't go completely to plan in the main event. We didn't get it quite right and I finished in P10 at the end. Although we were hoping to challenge for victory, I was happy to bring the car home in one piece and learn a lot with some great on-track battles.
Next up, we head onto the only "home soil" races for me at the Toronto Indy July 12-14. I had a fantastic on-track experience there last year in the Pro (Star) Mazda Championship, and I hope to be fighting for top honours in just over a month. Especially after a somewhat disappointing result, the break will feel all too long – but I will be ready when we hit the track on Friday morning for practice!
On another note, my family has entered in the Cycle for Autism at home in Edmonton this weekend on June 2nd. We are raising money as "Team Rzad" for my 17 year-old brother, Artur, who was diagnosed with autism two years ago. "Team Rzad" is now the second highest online fundraiser for the event, just behind the title sponsor. To try and help raise more money, I have offered to do the entire ride in my full racing kit – helmet, suit, gloves, all included!
If you're interested in helping to support our efforts, click here to donate: www.cycleforautismedmonton.com/teams/Rzadzinski
Oh, I also heard Tony Kanaan won some kind of race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday. I mean, there's no way it could have been as spectacular as our Saturday night races, but for some reason it drew quite a crowd.
In all seriousness, that was one hell of an Indianapolis 500. Congrats to TK for finally getting one, followed up by a very special run from Carlos Munoz who finished 2nd in his rookie race. If you haven't experienced it yet, go to Indianapolis in May - nothing else compares.
Get updates on Stefan's career at RZADRacing.com and follow him on Twitter for up-to-date activity @RZADRacing.
From Stefan Rzadzinski //www.RZADRacing.com //www.PoweredbyAlberta.com