first step up CART's ladder
April 11, 2001
Note: Landon Yee contacted us about writing articles that
follow his budding career. Always willing to help a young up
and coming driver, we agreed to make him a Guest Columnist so we can
hear first hand 'What it's Like to climb the CART Ladder system' (Photo
Credit: Mark LaCour)
Yee at speed
My name is Landon Yee and I am a 19-year-old aspiring Champ Car driver who moved up to the open wheel formula ranks this past year. After winning the Horstman STAART (Series To Advance American Racing Talent) Pro-Invitational, I was awarded a partial scholarship to compete in the Jim Russell Racing Series and am also a winner of CART Skip Barber Karting Scholarship.
With this being my sophomore year in formula cars, I will be bringing you an in depth look at what it is like from the driver's perspective as he moves up the racing ladder. With over nine years of go-karting experience and one year of formula cars under my belt, expectations are high for the future. Plans for 2001 include running the CART Skip Barber National Championship Series and moving up to the CART Barber Dodge Pro-Series the year after.
The CART Skip Barber National Championship Series kicks off at Sebring, Fla. at the end of April and I decided to warm-up for the event by racing at a local event at Laguna Seca Raceway. I left my apartment at school at 5:00AM and arrived at Laguna Seca Raceway early Friday morning to practice for the race that weekend. Unfortunately, it was raining and forecast for the rest of the weekend called for sunny skies. Nevertheless, practice commenced and I ended up being fifth fastest by the end of the day.
After receiving a peaceful night's sleep, I awoke to bright blue skies, which were ideal racing conditions. There was no practice Saturday morning but rather a qualifying session that would set up the grid for that same day. I slowly warmed up to the car and the track and pushed harder and harder every lap. By the end of the session, I was feeling very comfortable in the car and grabbed my first CART Skip Barber pole.
Starting from the pole allowed me to get a good jump on the field and I led the race comfortably until I made a mistake in turn 10 which allowed second place to close the gap. Now within striking distance, I pushed harder to regain my lead and was able to not only win my first CART Skip Barber victory but also led the race wire to wire.
Sunday started off with dry weather but a quick shower caused the track to become damp and the cars had to be switched to treads. With Sunday's grid being based off of Saturday's finishing order, I started from the pole and at the start of the race, began to pull away. I continued to set fast lap times and pull away from second place but made a mistake after trying to go too deep into turn 2. I had found the limit and regained focus. Now halfway into the race, I pushed hard and managed to win by over two seconds to claim my second career CART Skip Barber victory.
Looking back on the weekend as a whole, I am very pleased with my results and have confidence that I will do well in the opening round at Sebring. Although I am unfamiliar with the full course, I am excited about learning the new track and getting back into the racing season. I am looking forward to the traveling and see you at the races!
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