2001 CART Skip Barber Championship Series
kicks off in Sebring
May 1, 2001
Note: 19-year old aspiring Champ Car driver Landon Yee is
moving to the open wheel formula ranks. After winning the Horstman STAART (Series To Advance American Racing Talent) Pro-Invitational,
he was awarded a partial scholarship to compete in the Jim Russell Racing Series and am also a winner of CART Skip Barber Karting
Scholarship. He has agreed to be 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
The 2001 CART Skip Barber National Championship Series kicked off in Sebring this past weekend under continually changing weather conditions that ended with a light shower on Sunday. My first day on the Sebring full course was Wednesday, which I used to familiarize myself with the changing track conditions and humidity that comes with Florida. Thursday was identical to Wednesday and by the end of the day, I found myself at the top of the time sheets posting a new track record. I was pleased to say the least and was looking forward to Friday's short practice session before we went into qualifying for Saturday's race.
After a short practice session on Friday morning, I was fifth quickest and much was expected for qualifying. I ran with fellow competitor Dan Dileo to try and draft each other and help better our lap times. For the majority of the session, I was just outside the top ten but with two laps remaining, I received a good draft and vaulted myself up to sixth position on the grid for Saturday's race.
Saturday's schedule began with a qualifying session for Sunday's race, which was then followed by our first race of the 2001 season. In the qualifying session, my car felt very stable and consistent but my time was only good enough for fourteenth starting position. Although disappointed, not all was lost and I had to focus on the race that day.
At the beginning of Saturday's race, I timed the start extremely well and moved from sixth to fourth by the first turn. Now sitting in fourth, my plan was to stay in-line with the top three so that we could break away from the rest of the field. With any type of racing, expect the unexpected and immediately my plan was almost completely thrown out the door when everybody began to battle, allowing others to catch up. With the top five now running bumper to bumper, we were able to turn quick lap times and opened up a comfortable gap from sixth place. Throughout the rest of the race, the top five were in an intense battle that saw myself finish a strong fifth, which was a great way to start the season.
For Sunday's race, with thirteen competitors ahead of me, I knew that I had to drive a smart race and try and score points towards the National Championship. At the start of the race, I quickly moved to the inside line and was able to move up four positions by the end of the first turn. I was able to run with the top eight for the beginning of the race but soon found myself in a heated battle for ninth position, which allowed the leaders to slowly pull away from myself and those behind me. In the closing laps of the race, I was passed by a competitor who's exhaust baffle had fallen off giving him a power advantage and leaving me with a ninth place finish.
With twelve races left in the series, I am pleased with my results and about the new year. Two top ten finishes can only lead to bigger and better things and with our next race only two weeks away, I feel very well prepared. In the meantime, I will return to my studies at college and also continue to look for potential partners to help aid in my quest to become a successful Champ Car driver.
See you at the races!
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first step up CART's ladder