Plowman's success based on lesson learned at Mid-Ohio Martin Plowman had a moment of clarity at the Mid-Ohio race weekend last year and it's made all the difference in the results of the young Englishman ever since.
"Last year was a huge education for me," Plowman said. "I started out the year not having a car that was capable of winning, but my mentality was to win as all costs. I drove outside my limits and I made more mistakes.
"When we got to Mid-Ohio last year, I realized that I had to dig deeper and make the car better for me to perform and not overdrive the car. The results started coming."
Plowman, who drove from eighth to fifth at Mid-Ohio last season for Panther Racing, has finished in the top 10 in every race since and is the only driver to complete every lap of every race through the first eight rounds of the 2010 championship.
He'll match James Davison's series record of consecutive races without a DNF should he complete the Mid-Ohio 100 on Aug. 8. But Plowman, who moved to AFS Racing Andretti Autosport in the offseason, is quick to credit his team for his consistency and his third-place position in the point standings.
"From Day 1, we've realized that we were with a strong team and fought for every position," Plowman said. "We've grown in confidence together and we have the pace to win for Day 1. We just haven't had a win. The results are now starting to show.
"I never worry about the car. The team's preparation is second to none. Every nut and bolt is never overlooked. The worse thing that's happened this year was a broken windscreen that rubbed on my hand. A lot of the credit goes to the team. They look after the car so well and that leads to the consistency that we've had all year."
The confidence in his the No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers/KEP Printing crew is one reason Plowman tries to repay his team with top results. He scored his first podium at Iowa after narrowly missing his first pole in June and returned to the podium with a third-place result at Edmonton on July 25. Now he's aiming for the top step of the podium at Mid-Ohio - a track he says suits his driving style.
"We had a good test there in preseason and again during the season," Plowman said. "It's a track where I have a lot of special memories. It's critical to get a good starting position. So we'll do everything we can to get the first pole and the first win."
But if he can't get the win, he'll fall back on the lessons he learned a year ago.
"At this point in the season, I have to go out and finish the best I can," Plowman said. "If you have a fifth-place car, you have to do what you can to finish fifth. If you're capable of winning, you must win. The records will achieve themselves if I don't make mistakes."