I took advantage of the extra day in Labor Day Weekend to coach at an event with a friend and client of mine, Rob Trollinger. Rob was heading north to Road America for his first event there. It’s one of his bucket list tracks, and what better way to do it than with his new race license and race car?
We began on Friday with a test day, which is a great way to learn a track, particularly one of that magnitude: Road America is long and high speed, especially in a Porsche Cup car. Saturday was the start of the main event, with more practice that included PCA’s race-format practice, which has three mock race starts. That gave Rob more of a chance to hone his race craft. If you’re at a new race track, you need to learn the track but you also need to learn how to race there, so that kind of practice is perfect for getting in some side-to-side driving.
Sunday was full of qualifying and sprint races. By that point we were able to dial in and establish our focus for particular corners on the track, identifying places where we were strong and where we needed to improve.
Due to a mechanical issue in qualifying, Rob had to start the first race from the back of the 50-car field. He had a phenomenal race and got all the way up to 22nd while running very quick, competitive lap times that seeded him well for the second race – each driver’s fastest lap of the first race determines the grid for the second race.
Unfortunately, race two did not go as smoothly. An incident on the first lap took out quite a number of cars, and Rob got caught up in it. The good news is that the car is okay, but he was unable to continue competing in that race.
Sometimes race weekends don’t go as planned and the results can be disappointing, but it’s important to take away the positives. Rob had a great weekend in all and continued to improve his race craft while checking Road America off his bucket list. Rob was able to get a lot of seat time, have a lot of fun and really learn the track. Now he’s got some unfinished business there and is ready to get back to Road America next time!