Aaron Jeansonne: Busy Down Time

Written by Team USA. Posted in Aaron Jeansonne, Driver Blogs, Feature

Published on December 19, 2018 with No Comments

Just missed the podium at VIR (Motorclubmedia.com)

SULPHUR, La. – It is safe to say that 2018 has been a year of ups and downs. The lowest “down” was easily having to take some time off from racing. The F2000 season was a struggle of adaptation for me, but progress was being made until the end. In my previous blog back in May, I was just coming off of a race weekend with Primus Racing at Watkins Glen. After this event, funding was getting very tight but I was able to continue to VIR with Tumenas Motorsports. We had a good weekend, closely contesting a podium position in Race Two but coming up just short after constant improvement.

As most of you know, racing is a very cut-throat business and it can be very difficult to come up with the funding to compete, especially in a situation like mine without help from family. I thank my supporters that carried me as far along as we were able to go in the season, but ultimately we needed more, so I was forced to withdraw from the series after VIR.

Admittedly, at that point I contemplated moving on completely and finding another direction in life. I had realized that maybe racing wasn’t as likely to happen as I may have hoped. But as the time passed I thought to myself, what kind of man would I be to have told my story and constantly preach resiliency, courage and to never giving up, and then turn around and give up myself? It wouldn’t be fair to everyone who believed in me. This shouldn’t be the end, it should only be the beginning.

Part of my new life — in college

However, the decision to keep fighting and searching for a light at the end of the tunnel didn’t mean I would be back in a car overnight. Based on some personal aspects in my life, such as my age and where my family stands financially, I had to make some tough decisions. So I returned to college for the fall 2018 semester to begin a two-year Ultrasound Tech degree currently taking pre-courses at Sowela Technical Community College in Lake Charles.

Maximum attack!

I can’t explain how bitter I was at first because all I could think about was that this isn’t what I was meant to do; I was born to race. However, the reason behind the decision was to set myself up to always be able to catch myself financially if I fall. I’ve never had anything, and I don’t want to find myself in a point in life not being able to race and having to search for a fast food job. On the bright side, based on my parents’ lack of income, I am able to receive federal grants and I actually receive money to go to school!

I just finished my last final exam and was able to finish the semester with four As and one B, currently with a 3.8 GPA. I put full effort in, because I believe it’s important to try to be the best in everything you do.

Working to make ends meet

On the side, I’ve been employed with Waitr, a food delivery company founded in Lake Charles, for nearly two years now. They’ve been great with working around my schedule, whether it be in racing or school. I’ve been working very hard to earn as much as I can while I’m not striving for my goals.

I also very closely kept up with this year’s Team USA Scholarship process after winning it myself last year. Although I wasn’t able to make it out to the shootout to judge, I was very happy to speak with the candidates and give them some advice. Some great picks were made and although Braden Eves was unable to make it, Jake Craig and Colin Mullan did a great job representing the program. I really enjoyed reading their stories and seeing how they compared to mine and Jonathan’s. I especially found it impressive just how well Colin conducted himself through it all at only 16 years old. Craig, Mullan and Eves impressed in the Mazda Road to Indy $200k Scholarship Shootout Presented by Cooper Tires, with two of the three replicating my accomplishment from one year ago of making it to the cut into the final race. Also, congratulations to the final winner and one of this year’s Team USA Candidates, Hunter McElrea, on being chosen by Mazda!

I recently had a fun trip to New Orleans and took part in my first rental kart league race at NOLA Motorsports Park. Little did I know upon arrival just how competitive it was. Within the 12-driver field, I was the only first-timer and most of them had been doing rental leagues for years and even run actual kart races. Some compete in multiple leagues in multiple states. In the practice session I was seventh out of 12 and it fired me up to try to win. It didn’t take long to become competitive, as I finished second in the first heat. The night continued to go well until the final race, as I had some problems with the kart and had to come in. However, it reminded me of the fire I had inside and motivated me to work harder to make things happen for a return.

Honing my skills on iRacing

I’ve also been sharpening my skills quite often on iRacing and other simulators. I’ve been competing in the Mazda MX-5 Cup on iRacing and have actually been able to find lots of improvements in my pace and racecraft. The more I collect wins online, the more excited I become to try to win again in a real car!

Some efforts are currently in effect to seal a ride for 2019. I’ve recently applied for the VMB Driver Development Academy Scholarships with World Speed Motorsports, granting the winner a chance to drive the VMB Academy FormulaSPEED car in 2019. I am awaiting to hear about the next steps and if I will be considered. Some recent winners include Colin Mullan and former competitor in the Mazda Road to Indy USF2000 $200k Scholarship Shootout Presented by Cooper Tires, Carter Williams. Another possible option right now is the Avon Tyres Formula Ford 1600 National Championship with Oldfield Motorsport. Of course, some funding will need to be achieved in order for this to happen, but it certainly is a very reasonable amount considering the huge amount of races and seat time against very high level competition. The team is the most recent winner of the prestigious Formula Ford Festival, a race in which I competed for in 2017 with Cliff Dempsey Racing and Team USA Scholarship but wasn’t able to take the trophy home. Another shot in the U.K. would be something special!

Racing in the UK was an amazing experience

At the end of the day, after the hard work, I still have my fingers crossed to find myself back in a seat next year. If the chance comes again, I’ll have to try even harder and be more focused and determined than before. Thanks for the support, and it’s pleasing to know I wasn’t forgotten about. For anyone who wants to be part of this journey with me in this steep climb, I’ll  be glad to have you!

Hope you all have a great Christmas,
Aaron

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