Thomas Schrage: The perfect weekend!

Written by Team USA. Posted in Driver Blogs, Feature, Thomas Schrage

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Published on October 19, 2022 with No Comments

BRANDS HATCH, England – Thanks to the Team USA Scholarship, I have made two trips across the pond to England in the last three weeks. It’s been busy, for sure, and even though my last blog was only just over a week ago, there’s so much has happened that I need to tell you all about!

Thomas barely had time to notice the fall colors at PittRace!

This past weekend I completed my 2022 Formula Race Promotions F1600 season with a bang at the Pittsburgh International Race Complex. After so much driving in England over the past few weeks, the transition back to my Rice Race Prep Mygale-Honda was a little rough initially, but once I knocked the rust off, I ended the final practice as the fastest car on the track with terrific speed. Qualifying also went well. I had the magic lap that lined us up on the pole for Race 1, but I knew the toughest part of the weekend was still ahead, especially since I entered the weekend’s first race – of three – with a championship battle closer than I would have liked. I needed to do my best not to let the points gap close and I did just that. After a close battle up front with eight other cars in the early stages, I took off for an 11-second lead at the checkered.

Three poles, three wins and three fastest race laps!

The first win was the turning point that stretched my points gap far enough to make the rest of the weekend easier, but I kept pushing anyway. In the next race, I led from green to checkered with a 15-second advantage this time. The second win of the weekend locked up the championship and it was time to celebrate. I felt like a weight had been lifted off my back.

The final race on Sunday afternoon was an opportunity to take everything in one last time. Once again I started from the point and did my best to break away. I managed to build a nine-second lead, only for the Safety Car to join us on track with five laps to go. For the first time all weekend, I would be challenged from behind at the end of a race. I knew I had to keep everyone behind on their toes to pull off another win, and it all came down to a two-lap shootout. I held on to my ninth win of the season and third of the weekend.

During my flight back to the UK after the race on Sunday night, I found myself asking which win from this season was my favorite. It truly was a hard question but it had to be my very last race just a few hours earlier. I will always look back at the 2022 championship and remember when I stepped into the blue #01 Rice Race machine for the very last time with no limitations or championship involved.

Thomas (center), Ayrton Houk (left) and Hugh (brother of Max) Esterson filled the top three positions in the F1600 championship.

This championship means so much to not only myself but the whole Rice Race Prep crew! It’s finally setting in that this isn’t just a championship, but a symbol of all the hard work our team put in all year long. I believe the key to my success this year is the same one that has helped me through my whole career, just simply wanting it so badly, knowing I won’t let it slip away.

The Pittsburgh weekend has prepared me for the Formula Ford Festival in ways most might not think of. From my perspective, the benefits were all mental. Not only did I fly back to the States after winning a championship but I was able to learn so much after a week of driving in England. I’m more confident than ever, knowing I’m driving better than ever, and the Formula Ford Festival is this week!

Brands Hatch. Paddock Hill Bend. Wow!

I arrived at Brands Hatch Circuit for the first time on Tuesday, and wow! The track is amazing and has so much more banking and elevation than I realized. Videos do not do it justice. This track will be a completely new experience and will be incredible to race on. Thanks to Racecraft1, I have had my fair share of laps on the sim over the past month to prepare.

Ready to go for this weekend!

We also had a couple shots taken of us with our Team USA Scholarship cars and gear. The cars look absolutely fantastic, I would even say the best on the grid. We also put on our Team USA Scholarship suits for the very first time and I felt like a new person!

Today we started testing and my first laps did not disappoint. I continued my fast pace once again and I’m looking forward to the next five days here chasing the gold! I want to thank all the Team USA Scholarship supporters and will make sure to keep everyone updated throughout the whole Festival week.

From the UK,

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