2010-2011 Skip Barber Karting Shootout

December 09, 2010
I can pretty much admit that when I did the Shoot-out last December and came home empty handed, I was very disappointed in myself. When the new year began in 2010, I made a complete commitment to do whatever it would take to go back and win. My focus of the entire 2010 season was on trying to win the scholarship. So when we arrived in California this weekend, I felt ready to go. I was definitely nervous but I promised myself I would stay confident and calm both on and off the track.

This year there were 44 excellent drivers competing for the awards. Even though it was a pressure-packed four days, I still had some fun seeing many old karting friends. We were able to find a bit of time to have dinner together and just hang out and have fun. That helped take my mind off the competition.

I knew what to expect this time since I had been to the Shoot-out before, but it was still a nerve-racking experience. It’s as if every move you make is being scrutinized – how you dress, how you speak, how you interact with the coaches, and of course, how you perform on track. As each day passed, it became more and more intense. I started out fairly well on Day 1 with a good interview with Bob Varsha, so I was feeling confident. Day 2 was amazing because there were several seminars for the drivers; one by Barbara Burns (media training), one by Dean Case of Mazda, and finally an awesome seminar by Derek Daly about what it takes to be a winning race car driver. After Day 3, we had three sessions completed on track and I felt great about how things were going. The fourth and final day consisted of one final 16 lap session and then the hardest part of the competition, which was waiting for the announcement of the winners.

After 2 1/2 hours (yes, you read that correctly!) of deliberations, the judges made their decisions and the winners were announced. They began by announcing the Regional winners. By the time they got to the final grand prize awards, I felt like I was going to vomit. Seriously, I felt sick to my stomach. When I heard my name called for one of the top prizes, I was in shock! Everything after that became a blur. Things were happening so quickly – lots of handshakes, hugs, and tears of joy! Of course, my mom was crying like a baby! I have to admit that I even had to hold back some tears, too. My dad was very proud and had a huge smile on his face!

Congratulations to all the winners!

First and foremost, I would like to thank God for this amazing blessing! I couldn’t have done it without Him. I would also like to thank my parents for their dedication and for helping me achieve my goals. Many thanks, too, to all the Skip Barber instructors and mechanics, to my good friends Gerardo Bonilla & Conor Daly, to Steve Welk for teaching me how to drive a racecar, to everyone at SSC/East for all their support, the Ferris family, to Gary Osterholt for doing an awesome job on my website, to Mike Doty for giving me a great foundation in motorsports, to Mazda, the FIA, and everyone else who helped me.

To read the complete story about this year’s shoot-out, click on this link: