By: Ashley McCubbin
Sometimes when you stick a microphone in front of a driver’s face – especially when they’re mad, you have no clue what they may say and a couple of times you’ll hear something that surprises you or gives you a bit of a perspective.
Throughout the Indy Lights season, there were quite a few of these moments. So it seems only fitting we take a glance back through the year at what was said.
Obviously I’ve had a long career so far in Indy Pro 2000. I think the last few years we’ve seen myself as a driver mature a lot – not the on-track side, but the off-track side. I think a huge part of that this season came from Race 1 at Mid-Ohio. I keep referring back to it because it was a true turning point to my season. Race 1 there, I think I started second and was at the front of the pack and ended up finishing 10th, and it was no one’s fault but my own. I had no excuse for the result.
After that event, I got out of car and put my gear in the trailer, and went for a walk out in the paddock area – I ended up out in the park area and I just started praying. I’m like, ‘God, this is it. I’ve given everything that I’ve got to give so far. If it’s not the car falling apart, or other drivers running in the back of me or even flying over top of me, or me just making a mistake and I can’t ever get the result that I want. How much more of this am I going to have to go through? How much more trials am I going to have to suffer before we finally see the fruits of our labor so to speak.’
In that moment I had like a rush of peace and it reminded me a verse in James 1 that said, ‘consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds,’ and the reason for that is it produces perseverance because that’s creates maturity, and it allows you to persevere through many different aspects of life. So when you have those rough days, those trials, you can come back stronger than before.
So from that moment, I kind of took the year from no matter what is going to be thrown at us, I know that God has a purpose. I know its part of the plan and so forth and I’m working towards the goal that You set for me, so I’m going to be set.
So I think my maturity level grew so much that race, just because I didn’t have to worry so much about everything going on around me. It’s just more about seeing the process, trusting what God has put in front of me, trusting the people around me, and then the results will come naturally as long as we’re doing our job. – Sting Ray Robb
It’s going to be crazy then, with everything packed together. I think it’s going to be really competitive. We’ve all been in a similar situation where we’ve all been out of the car for awhile, and we’re all going to get back to it. Momentum will be real important as when we do get back, it’ll be race, race, race. There won’t be any real big breaks. I’m looking forward to it. I’ve been really strong. The Exclusive Autosport team has just been extremely professional, and my time in the car has been really good. I have a lot of confidence in myself and the team, and I think everything is working my way. – Braden Eves
My dad was a volunteer doctor at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. So he took me out there all the time and we would just go and watch whatever wound run – Champ Car, Moto GP, historical, all kinds of stuff. That got my love for motorsports going, and he was always a Formula 1 fan as well so we would always watch Formula 1 whenever it was on. Then one day, I said, ‘Why do I not have a go-kart yet?’ and my dad sort of said the same thing. So we got a go-kart and I started racing. – Philippe Denes
That would mean everything. That’s why we’re here in the Road to Indy. There’s no other ladder system like it in the world. You hear it all the time, but it’s true. It’s a place where you can fight for prize money and a ticket to get to the next level, eventually to IndyCar. I think that’s incredible special everything that Dan has put together for us drivers. It would mean everything.
Ever since I was eight or nine, I’ve always been into other sports. But once I started watching IndyCar with my dad – I can remember watching Dan (Wheldon) win it in ’11 when (J.R.) Hildebrand hit the wall in turn four, and then I went to my first one in 2012. It’s a dream of mine now, and it’s a dream that my father has had for awhile. So to just be there and just be able to do it one day, it would mean everything to me and everybody that has helped me get there. So that’d be really cool. – Colin Kaminsky
Everything. My whole life is dedicated to that. I’m trying to find the words chasing my dream, and that’s the exact dream that I am chasing. To be in IndyCar, there are so many people like me who have the same dream. But to have gotten to where I have right now, purely just from winning myself to this position with my supporters on my back, there’s no where else in the world that you can do that. In Europe, if you win a championship, you don’t get any reward. Nowhere really has this amazing ladder like America does, which kind of gives that real clear path to the top step. Oliver Askew is a perfect example of that; he’s literally won his way to an IndyCar seat. So for me, that’s exactly my plan.
Obviously I had a setback not winning the USF2000 Championship which is tough, but it’s not always a straight line. I’m sure there’s many many highs and there will be some more lows in the future, but the highs outweigh the lows and my goal is to continue the Road to Indy and hopefully one day be like Oliver. It’s possible if you’re good enough. We’ll see what the next few years have in store. I’m definitely going to be putting everything that I have and can into it, so we’ll see what happens. But that’s everything that I’m working for. – Hunter McElrea