Skip Barber National Driver Blog: Danilo Estrela Racing Strong and Smart
Monday, July 11, 2011
Skip Barber National Driver Blog:
Danilo Estrela Racing Strong and Smart
(Jul. 7). Racing at the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Championship presented by Mazda is really interesting, first of all because the learning factor. With all of the seat time available, you will always learn, so I take the first rounds of the season to learn and improve my weak spots. Because of this, I was able to finish on the podium in Round 7 and in the top five in Round 8. In addition to learning from my fellow competitors who are very talented, I also use the help of my coach Thomas Merrill and the Skip Barber Racing School instructors before the weekend to prepare my mind for the challenge.
Arriving at Road America, I had several things on my mind: to race smart, do a good job and focus on performance not results. That way I could properly represent my partners MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development, Skip Barber Racing School, the FIA and Sparco. The first day on the track was really good, I saw my friends and all the amazing Skip Barber Racing School staff. I participated in first lapping session, and even though I had some problems, I was able to learn a lot and carry the good mindset to the official practice sessions.
The first practice session went well. I placed on the top 10 and was learning how to deal with the draft, another key technique on the championship, especially at Road America. The first qualifying session was right after the practice, and I improved to a starting position in the fourth row. For the second qualifying session we changed the car, and again the Skip Barber staff was incredibly professional and helpful as they got me set up in my new car. Even with the last minute changes, I was able to jump in the car and qualify on the second row.
Going to the first race, Round 7, I lost three spots on the start falling to the last place, but it was only the beginning of a long race. I knew all the cars were equal so I drove hard and worked the draft and I started gaining positions. With four laps to go, I was in the top 5 and still climbing positions. On the last lap, I was in the perfect spot right behind the leader, but another competitor made contact with me and I dropped two spots and finished fourth. Later, that competitor was penalized for blocking and I jumped to third. I was really happy with another podium and also with the integrity of the race officials!
The second race of the weekend, Round 8, I had a really good start and jumped from fourth to third. I had a smart battle racing with the leading group after the start, but by the middle of the race the leaders started opening a gap and by the end me and Trent Hindman, my fellow MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Scholarship driver, were able to work together on the draft and close the gap. Once again, I finished on the top 5. I was so happy with the racing action and also with the results! I cannot express enough gratitude to MAZDASPEED, Skip Barber Racing School, and my amazing coach Thomas Merrill. Now it`s time to keep the good momentum to the next races and climbing on the championship points!
2011 BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda
Rounds 9 & 10: July 21-23 at Road Atlanta with Skip Barber Regional Series
Rounds 11 & 12: August 11-13 at Lime Rock Park with Skip Barber Regional Series
Rounds 13 & 14: September 9-11 at Autobahn with Skip Barber Regional Series
Rounds 15 & 16: Oct 6-8 at Lime Rock Park with Skip Barber Regional Series
About the Skip Barber National Series
Dedicated to the development of aspiring race car drivers, the Skip Barber National is an open wheel, entry-level, equal car championship that provides the athletes with media exposure, expert coaching, on-track experience, financial awards and motorsport scholarships. The Skip Barber National is the series that launched the auto racing careers of Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti, Scott Speed, A.J. Allmendinger, Raphael Matos and many more. The top 10 drivers in the Skip Barber National Series point standings will also receive prizes and awards to aid in the development of their motorsports careers.
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