Reality struck on the morning of August 28, 2021. The wait is over. It’s time to honor the last five years of my life and those who have supported it by containing fear, dispelling doubts, and understanding the present.
Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin’s famous Road American circuit, hosted the fourth round and midpoint of the SRO Pirelli GT4 USA SprintX Championship with John Farrow and fellow JMF motorsport teams Danny Cock and Melanie Patterson. Thank you very much for your support. Working with Eric Bachelart of Conquest Racing West, I was excited to participate.
Due to the dark sky and heavy rain, both Friday practice sessions took place in the rain, but after being instructed to climb in a suit on a Mercedes AMG GT4, my heartbeat and throat beat. AMG 4.0 liter V8 biturbo is fighting for supremacy. Then came the words I had been waiting for for almost five years: “It’s clear you’re on track.” And at a glance at the mirror on the left, the pit limiter was activated and the throttle was turned on. I made it a mat and dumped the clutch. Shortly thereafter, a large smile and a childish giggle filled the cockpit with love and gratitude so far. This was real!
A damp course was presented in the first quarter on Saturday morning and asked for a choice of Saturday Saturday tires. In anticipation of the track drying out, I decided to run slick tires towards the end of the session. To calm my nerves, I went back to my recent memories at the Autoburn Country Club. There, I participated in a charity go-kart event on a damp truck with slick tires.
The concession cart in Road America and the Mercedes-AMG GT4 may sound incomparable, but the idea was. While I was karting, I remember trying new things myself and being forced to make mistakes. The goal of both scenarios was to identify grip patterns by testing new combinations on each lap until they finally returned to the racing line. I was happy to finish the top 10 with the checkered flag. It wasn’t a bad start for the 38 fields.
A few hours later, I re-entered the first race of two 1-hour races. My focus began to narrow with the radio call “packing and pairing”. Again, it’s time to live and let go to free yourself from all the distractions except the work at hand. “Green, green, green!” Then it hit me. I haven’t done one lap yet in dry conditions! I laughed and told myself, “Hey, I don’t have the time I have now!”
The race went well. He made a few positions at the start, and although the stint was interrupted due to the caution of the full course, he kept the 9th place after receiving the call of “pit pit pit”.
The pit stop and driver change added a really cool element to the race that accentuated the beauty of being on the team. The stage time is over and it’s time to put the spotlight on co-driver Colin Mullin. Co-driver happens to be a former Team USA scholarship winner. I accepted the team when I bounced off the wall of the pit and the second warrior threw himself into the fight. By moving from attending to watching in just a few seconds, I was tickled and died. He finished the day in 12th place overall and 4th in the silver class, and provided the information necessary for the balance of the car the next day.
Like a clockwork, Asahi brought both nerves and excitement as a handful of changes were made to the car all night in hopes of a better approach to Race 2. Colin started the race and did a great job of keeping us fighting. After a little attention, I stepped into the pit wall and the pit window opened. Tap your shoulders and it’s time to go!
Look at our Farrow Mercedes-AMG GT4 emblem
The hill to the pit lane was insane. Colin stopped the car after hitting the mark. Meanwhile, I ran around behind with the booster seat in my hand.
Once locked in, the hustle and bustle of the pit lane began. I was nailed to the limiter, and as the white line got closer and closer, my thumb started to move and I jumped into my childhood dream. I made some spots on the outlap so I was able to fight for decent results. But with luck, he only flew two laps in the race, with two more full-course attentions followed by a very strange restart. When I received the checkers, silence filled the radio waves.
Then, to my surprise, I shared that the radio was on and I was just on the podium. I sat there incredibly, with a big smile and a sigh of relief. The third-place finish in the class was a gift to a man who invested his life’s work efforts in an ambitious soul. Accepting Mr. Farrow after the race was a special moment to keep in mind for years to come, without his passion for people as well as motorsport.
There are few words to express our gratitude to those who have contributed to the realization of this vision. In 2021, I am now grateful to report that my passion from sun to sunset is being consumed happily, and it’s all thanks to you! The dream of becoming a motorsport and professional racing driver has changed my life forever. Sometimes I didn’t even know when or even how the next step would come. However, the tireless pursuit taught me how to value the nuances of life and not think about anything that is taken for granted.
The opening round at JMF Motorsport and Conquest Racing West’s Pirelli GT4 Sprint X was unforgettable. It hit us, tickled our self-confidence, shared a great deal of humility, and rewarded us for staying loyal to the process. We cannot thank John Farrow, the JMF Motorsports Team, Conquest Racing West, and the SRO Series for giving us a valuable opportunity.
Looking at the next round at Watkins Glen from September 17th to 19th, the team and I are excited to pick things up from where we left off!
Very truly yours,
https://racer.com/2021/09/14/stephens-it-can-happen-to-you/ Stevens: That can happen to you