Tristan Nunez – Rain Dance

Written by Team USA. Posted in Driver Blogs, Feature, Tristan Nunez

Published on October 30, 2012 with No Comments

Corby, England (October 29, 2012) – What an amazing week! Where do I begin? First let me explain that I have had very little experience racing in the rain so I knew that I had a lot of obstacles facing me. Not to mention that I was at a new track, Brands Hatch, with a new team, Cliff Dempsey Racing, and only one race weekend in an FF car prior to arriving here. I had my work cut out for me! I had been warned by many that I was in for a real eye-opener when it comes to racing in Europe so I was mentally prepared for what to expect.

En route to victory in the Quarter Final.

When my teammate Jack Mitchell Jr. and I arrived at Brands Hatch on Wednesday, it was foggy and rainy. For the first two days of practice, those were our racing conditions and I welcomed the new challenge. Both of us got up to speed very quickly. I was surprised how comfortable I felt in the car in the rain. The prototype cars that I had been racing all year have more horsepower and more grip. I found these Formula Fords to be very predictable and I was able to maneuver it easily and able to predict the slide, which gave me loads of confidence going into the turns. I was starting to love to wet conditions and really loving racing these cars.

I was basically P1 for the first two days of practice, and continuing my streak as the official day of practice ended on Friday. But Saturday was a whole different story. I now had to qualify in the dry. I never in my wildest dreams would have thought that I would be concerned about a dry track!!!  But I was warned that this track in the dry was very tricky to find fast spots…especially for someone like me that has never been here before. I did quite well, qualifying fifth in my group and seventh fastest overall. All I can tell you is that I was doing some serious rain dancing before the Quarter Final race – and it worked! I got to race the quarterfinal race in wet conditions and won the heat by almost 13 seconds!! The cool thing is that Jack won his heat race too! The Americans were making a statement!!

My Semi Final race was a classic and one that will stay in my mind for a long time. I won the Semi Final race as well, starting on pole but fell back to third.  I was able to make a last-lap pass for the win, with two wheels in the grass! I actually made the pass on Ivor McCullough, the reigning 2011 Champion! And this race was in dry conditions! Once again, the American for the win!! YES!

Unfortunately, the Final didn’t go as hoped. I think these guys had enough of this rookie American beating up on them and they were out for blood in the final, which is what I expected. The standing start was nerve-wracking for me since I have never done it before. It really wasn’t as bad as I thought, but being in the final race on pole, it was nervier than ever! I fell back to third and went wheel to wheel for about six laps when I went for the pass for second place. The guy turned in on me and I almost flipped, going flying into the gravel. But I got started again and charged through the field. I got up to 16th, and then my engine failed. It was such a bummer because I really think I could have made it back to the front for a podium.

All in all, it was a great week, and a great experience and most of all a great warm up for Silverstone. I learned so much about how to race against these guys and I am really excited to get back at it again. I can’t thank the Cliff Dempsey Racing team enough for always giving me a great car to drive. And also have to thank Michelle Dempsey for her delicious cooking…her beef stew is the best!

The thing that stood out the most to me was the crowds that were in attendance for the races. It was so incredible to have so many people in the stands to watch us race. It really pumped me up. And if you were good and fast, you were known. I think the names Tristan Nunez and Jack Mitchell Jr. are now names that will be known at the next round of races….

Silverstone, here we come!!


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