ashley asks....

“They Said What?” Road to Indy Edition

By: Ashley McCubbin

Sometimes when you stick a microphone in front of a driver’s face – especially when they’re mad, you have no clue what they may say and a couple of times you’ll hear something that surprises you or gives you a bit of a perspective.

Throughout the Road to Indy season, there were quite a few of these moments. So it seems only fitting we take a glance back through the year at what was said.

“It was wild. It was very last minute how it happened. I just kind of got the call to drive down to Nashville for the Nashville street race, the first race of its kind. To really be a part of that was really cool. Obviously, I’d like to racing an IndyCar or something like that, but the Stadium Super Trucks were awesome, too. That was probably the most attention that I got from fans in a race weekend, which is crazy. I did get on the podium there in the Super Truck and it was wild.

That was probably the most involved that I’ve been with the fans in a race weekend, just because they love seeing it. They love seeing the trucks jump, they love seeing the trucks crash – they love all that stuff. I think it’s a great outlet to build my personal brand and it’s just fun, too. You never really get to race like that in everything else. You can actually bump into each other and get into each other without really getting in trouble or damaging the cars – it’s almost encouraged in that series. That’s something that’s definitely unique, but it’s make it super fun.” – Jacob Abel

“So IndyCar, open-wheel racing definitely has something unfamiliar with me just because of my family history – with my grandpa, dad racing IndyCar in the past and my grandpa’s success. So it’s nothing too foreign to me growing up so I originally started in karting as many drivers do on road courses throughout the United States – and did a bunch of races in Europe. So I was kind of headed down a more IndyCar / open-wheel path, which a lot of karters do.

“But the decision ultimately came as I tested a Legend car and a late model a little bit, and I really liked it and thought the racing would be fun. I considered doing some open-wheel tests and considering where I wanted to put my focus on going forward going out of karts into cars, but I tested the NASCAR stuff and I liked it. One thing led to a next, and I was signed for a full season in late models. Then we got a couple years down the NASCAR route, and it gets hard to find the money at that stage to be racing every year. I didn’t race a lot last year, the year before, just because it’s very expensive.

“Some things happened with COVID that didn’t allow me to continue racing the NASCAR stuff, and an opportunity presented it to do some open-wheel stuff. I’ve always liked open-wheel racing as that’s all I wanted to do and it was something that I was happy doing the NASCAR stuff, but something I had on my mind doing NASCAR stuff. I had a few meetings and talked to some people that were willing to help me do some Road to Indy stuff this year and I’m a racecar driver – I like driving anything, whether the NASCAR, the off-road stuff, open-wheel cars.

“I just want to race as it’s in my blood, and it was really a no-brainer decision to me to hop in and test an open-wheel car. The opportunity then presented itself for the entire year and I was fully on-board, ready to do it. It’s been a super fun new challenge as driving different styles of cars is something that I enjoy. I think being a diverse racecar driver able to drive a wide variety of cars helps you with anything that you want to do. I would consider myself a better racecar driver in general now that I’ve done this. I have some open-wheel experience, I have stock car experience, I have a wider variety of tools and I think that will help me in the future.” – Jagger Jones

“Well, karting kind of teaches you everything. it teaches you how to go fast, especially at a young age. You learn the racing lines and how to race other people. That’s the biggest thing that I took from karts was the race craft, and being able to follow people, go for moves, or wait for another corner. Also, kart set-up is kind of similar to cars, as you may experience understeer here or there; you may want that in a car, but you don’t want that in a kart. Stuff like that.

“The biggest thing I took was the race craft, and also the experience of losing because unfortunately, in this sport, you lose more times than you win. So being able to take that lost and trying to come back the next time to win was a big thing.” – Jonathan Browne

“I think that – the mental side of it. It’s something that I struggled with a ton last year, and have throughout my entire career – on the pressure side, and a lot of is internal with putting a lot of pressure on myself. I’m really tough on myself to perform and get everything out of myself, and when things don’t go well, whether because of my fault or the car, I always tend to blame myself which is a pretty destructive thing to do.

“I went and did some courses through the off-season, actually, and it helped me a ton with just getting out of my head and learning what I can do to be constructive, not destructive, and give me notice for a way out. So now when I notice I’m slipping in that direction, I can pull myself away from it. I think the biggest thing is keeping yourself in that zone, so when you’re in the racecar, you’re in that zone to perform and I drag myself out of it because I’d be so obsessed with that mistake and I need to be that good. The answer is always you work best when your head is clear so you can be focused.” – Josh Green

“I think obviously adds pressure on you with such a big prize at the end of it and very important for career direction. I tend to not feel the pressure too bad. I just take one step at a time. I don’t even look at where the results stack up in the championship. I don’t want to know right now – I just focus on each race till the last few rounds. My goal is to keep doing what I can in each race, and trying to win races.” – Louis Foster

“I think it’s really special as a Canadian driver. I mean, I’m obviously only on step one of say 10 on the way to becoming an IndyCar driver or competing at that level, but to carry the Canadian flag – and I know a lot of Canadian drivers wear the red gloves for Greg Moore. I was talking to Hinch and how special it is for us to have Canadian heritage in racing and trying to push that and show other Canadians it is possible.” – Mac Clark

“Yeah – I mean, it’s racing. I wish I had my shirt on. I have a shirt that says shift happens. I should be wearing it. I have it around here somewhere but shift happens. That’s just how it is. You’re never going to have a perfect year. But I think how we reacted things, how we were trying to be proactive, and how we reacted to things that were going wrong for us, in terms of luck mechanically or – because nothing ever lays right. I think we handled it very well this year – and me and Cape (Motorsports), the team. So I think it’s been a lot smoother than years past.” – Michael D’Orlando

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s