I'm confident we can make things better
We went off to the St. Pete race, and I was really excited. I was pretty anxious to be going there because it’s the beginning of the season. Testing went well in the offseason, but you never really know where you stand until you go to that first race.
Fortunately for us, we were pretty quick right out of the gate and qualified third. We went into the Fast Six, and I was really excited about that because I’d never done that before. I thought it was really rewarding.
The race also went well. Unfortunately, we finished sixth. At the end we kind of ran out of tires a little bit, but that is something we can learn from for our setup. Tire wear is important, and we never had that issue before.
It was still a great weekend. My parents were there, and a lot of people from the Nuclear Clean Air Energy campaign, from AREVA and Entergy, and that was really exciting. It always feels like we’re a big family and we’re in this all together. It’s cool that we were able to kick off the season with a really good start.
I stayed down in Florida after the race. I think I was scared to come back to Indianapolis because it was really cold. My parents were around, so we stayed down there for the whole week. It was really nice, although we made the rookie mistake of burning ourselves on the beach because we didn’t think we needed that much sunscreen, but we learned our lesson. It was great!
I spent time with my mom and dad; we just went around sightseeing. I also got to have dinner with my teammate, Tony Kanaan, and his wife, Lauren. It was the first time we got together outside the race track. He’s an awesome person, and we had a lot of fun.
Then we went on to Barber Motorsports Park. We stopped by the Southern Nuclear office in Birmingham and met with everybody there. They were pretty excited about the race coming up, and I was, too. It’s cool to have everybody involved like that.
Barber was fun. It’s a difficult track with a lot of elevation changes, which I like because it reminds me of tracks in Europe. I was really looking forward to it.
We were quick, but the weekend didn’t go our way. We missed it a little bit in qualifying, and that hurt us. We started 14th. During the race our strategy didn’t play out, so it was a long race, a race to forget, I guess, because it wasn’t the result we wanted.
I think there are some things we can take out of it if we want to win races. All those little things are important, so we really have to focus on those, and hopefully we can clean those up this week. We have a few meetings back in Indy, and I’m confident we can make things better for the next race. I’m really looking forward to going to Long Beach, where I had my first win in Atlantics.