Ely’s Race update – Mid Ohio & New Jersey

My first time at Nostalgic Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington Ohio.

Mid-Ohio is about an hour and a half outside of the city of Cleveland and the home test course for Honda North America & Cooper Tire.
Day 1 the official Road to Indy promoter’s test had 3 sessions for me to learn the tract, as this was my first time at the course. It rained most of the day, and test 1 was wet. I put in as many laps as possible trying to just learn the layout and nature of the track, and I ended the session by doing well in P5. We were extremely excited considering the weather conditions.
On to test 2, and it was a carbon copy of test 1, so the good thing is were doing the right things and learning fast and, I ended in P5!
In test 3, it started off dry, and I was top 10 for most of the session while we were testing different set ups to find more speed thru turns 3, 4 & 5. We decided to put on a new set of tires. On the warmup lap, it started raining heavily and caught the entire field off guard, and it brought out the red flag. Nine cars slid off track, and a few had damage. It was a sketchy situation, and I was glad that I kept the car on track and made it back to the pits safely.
Ely turn 6 @ Mid-Ohio
Day 2 at Mid-Ohio, the schedule contains Practice 1, Qualifying 1, and Race 1. In qualifying we didn’t have the pace we wanted, and I qualified P25 out of 30. We knew we had an uphill battle the rest of the event but nevertheless, I needed and wanted the experience. 
During all three races, I made up at least six spots. I heard and now realized, how hard it is to pass at Mid-Ohio, but this is the experience I needed for the time we come back on Oct 2nd and next season. I was super pleased with how the races went even with the position I started. I have struggled with new tires all season, as rookies tend to do. Its part of the leaning process I’m told and just need more seat time. I have closed the new tire run gap down this season from over 1 second down to .50. We have work to do in the off season to get that to par. The goal next season is to make a run for the championship! 
Special guest Bill & Paula Cosgrove Visit Mid Ohio

Next stop - New Jersey Motorsports Park

Finally, back at New Jersey Motorsports Park, the track I took my first ever car win back in 2020, in Lucas Oil. This is the only track I have raced at the year with LSR, and it was so good to be back. I met with the team mid-day Thursday and had our normal meetings and track walk. I was feeling good about this weekend, there was some chance of mixed weather conditions, and I felt I had a real opportunity of finishing in the top 10.
Day two at NJMP, and we arrived at the track at 8am, an hour and 15 minutes before test 1. I went into the hauler and went to look at data, track maps, and video, from the previous test during the summer break. It was the first time back in the office, in about eight weeks, and it felt great to be with the team and learning. Test 1 was a 60 minute session, and we waited for about 40 minutes before going out, as the track was dusty and had no grip. We did a qualifying simulation and ended it there. I ended in 15th 
In test number 2, we did a race run and then another qualifying run. This time having more information on the qualifying run, let us run a lot faster than before and come back with some better results. I finished the session in 9th !
Day three rolls around, and it’s time for qualifying! The weather conditions changed a lot, and it was so, much colder than day two, and I qualified in 15th. 
It was finally time for the races!
Race 1 – Qualified 15th – My goal was to do better than what I started and gain experience. Green flag, and I made two passes going into turn 1 off the start! This track is extremely hard to pass at, with how fast all the corners are, but I had a great jump. The race stayed as it started and toward the end of the race, I made a slight error and lost a position on the final lap, I finished the race in 14th.
Race 2 – I started 14th; but, before the race started, it was raining, and the officials deemed it a wet race meaning everyone had to start on wet tires and could not change them until crossing the line and taking the green flag. I didn’t make up positions at the start, but I made some later in the race.
When the race started, the ground was hardly wet. It quickly dried up, and we were all burning up our rain tires, but it was too late in the race to change them. I quickly realized this and started to find standing water to keep my tires cool for the end of the race. I was still in 15th , when I realized this, and I quickly caught up to a pack of 7 other cars! In the last 6 laps I made up 7 positions to finish in 8th! I made the first top 10, of my career!
Race 3 was the final race of the New Jersey event, and I started in 14th . It was similar to race 1, but this time it was a lot drier. We decided to stick with our plan and see how it played out. A group of cars decided to pit after lap 1, but that put them almost 1 lap down (but with slicks). That gave them a 3 to 4 second advantage per lap but had almost a minute to make up. A few of the front runners passed me. I ended up in 12th.
It was a great weekend, as I achieved my goal by improving from start to finish.

Ely finishes 8th in race 2 at NJMSP! 

First top 10 of the year

Next and last Event at Mid-Ohio from Oct 1st-3rd
8:40 AM – 9:10 AM Practice 
11:45 PM – 12:15 PM USF2000 Q1
3:50 PM – 4:30 PM USF2000 RACE 1
SUNDAY, JULY 4, 2021
8:00 PM – 8:30 PM USF2000 Q2
11:00 AM -11:40 AM USF2000 RACE 2
Watch live on Roadtoindy.tv

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