By: Ashley McCubbin
After a career-best 10th-place finish at New Jersey Motorsports Park, Josh Pierson returns to the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship in 2021, this year competing with Pabst Racing. The Oregon native recently shared his thoughts entering the sophomore campaign with NEWS FROM THE PITS.
ASHLEY MCCUBBIN: What are your thoughts entering this season?
JOSH PIERSON: I’m really looking forward to it. Obviously this is my second year with the Road to Indy – new team, new equipment. We’ll see what we can do moving forward, but I’m cautiously optimistic going in. I’m hopeful we can get some laps here at Barber (Motorsports Park) so we can go into Barber as good as we can be.
ASHLEY: What are your goals and expectations?
JOSH: So, as for goals, I try to set something reachable. I’d love to end up on a podium or win this year, but if I can get consistently in the top-10, top-five through the season, that’d be a good goal for me.
ASHLEY: What track are you most looking forward to?
JOSH: So I really enjoy the street circuits – Toronto and St. Pete I’m really looking forward to, because they punish you hard if you’re not on your game and they are just fun tracks to drive.
ASHLEY: If you could look back on last season and give yourself a grade, what would that be?
JOSH: Probably a C or a B. it was my first season, and it was a pretty difficult one. We had a lot of struggles, including a pretty big crash at Road America in race 2. So for me, I had a hard time finding confidence last season so that’s why I’d somewhat give myself something in that range of just average.
ASHLEY: In looking back at the year, what’s the biggest thing that you learned last season that you feel will benefit you in 2021?
JOSH: For sure it’s my race craft. Obviously, I just came from karting so I’m used to a different style of racing. So for me, I had pace and speed, but what I couldn’t find is consistency in my race craft and making passes was a struggle for me. So by the end of the season, I started to figure that out and was starting to make my way through the field consistency. So that’s the biggest takeaway from that season for me.
ASHLEY: On the flip side, what do you feel you need to do to improve as a driver?
JOSH: Improving as a driver on each and every one of these tracks, there’s going to spots that I can get better, especially being in a new car. I’m very excited as from the testing I’ve done, I’ve been very quick in their car. So I’m excited. There’s a lot of things that I am going to learn at these different tracks this year – definitely need to improve there, and the race craft is going to be big once again this season.
ASHLEY: How did you get started in racing?
JOSH: So when I was really little, I was 2, my dad started SportsCars up as a hobby and he’d race – I was too little to remember it, but apparently I was so excited that I couldn’t contain it so they put me in a go-kart and since then I’ve loved it.
ASHLEY: What’s been your most memorable racing moment to date?
JOSH: Most memorable moment of my career to date would probably have to be in 2019 as it was my first breakthrough year in karting. I got third place in the championship, and it was kind of my big year.
ASHLEY: Who is your racing hero?
JOSH: My racing hero would probably be – I really enjoy watching the new F1 stars. So I like Lando Norris and George Russell, as well as Charles Leclerc. They are all incredible drivers and they all heave incredible stories behind them.
ASHLEY: What would it mean for you to climb the Road to Indy and race in the IndyCar Series one day?
JOSH: It would mean a lot to me. It’s been my dream since I was really little. I’m still kid, but I’m still going to push for it and it would mean a lot to me. It’s been my dream for a very long time so hopefully we can accomplish that.