Elliott Budzinski: Looking to the future

Written by Team USA. Posted in Driver Blogs, Elliott Budzinski, Feature

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Published on January 11, 2023 with No Comments

Heat pole position at the Water Hayes Trophy.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – It’s been a while since I’ve been home from England, and I’ve had time to continue on with life and reflect on my time spent as a Team USA Scholarship driver and with the Ammonite Motorsport team. While I made some mistakes and didn’t perform quite at the level I had hoped, I’ve walked away from the experience with a far better understanding of myself and the sport I love.

It’s a hard pill to swallow when you make an unforced mistake that costs you, but I think what’s so important is to be able to make mistakes at the early stages of a career to learn from. I wanted nothing more than to go over and win the Formula Ford Festival and Walter Hayes Trophy events, but as I keep coming back to my experiences, the more I have started to view all of those little mistakes as a larger learning opportunity. There were a lot of points where I showed what I was really capable of and had some wonderful high points. Setting pole position at Silverstone in one of the biggest races I’ve ever entered, or making multiple comeback drives is something I can confidently say I’m proud of. The six weeks spent in England I look back on as some of the most fun I have had in my life.

Intense racing is a hallmark of Formula Ford (JEP).

It’s not just my driving abilities or awareness that I’ve enhanced, but what I feel more than anything else is that my ability to conduct myself in a professional manner has improved. As dramatic as it sounds, the whole trip put me into a sink or swim scenario. Jeremy set everything up to prepare us best for the world of racing, and that doesn’t come without difficulties. Recounting back to my first blog, it was my first time living away from home, and as I mentioned then, what I found to be most challenging was the constant activity and lack of a support system. When racing at home, if something doesn’t go your way there are normally several days or even a week where you’re able to relax and step away. This was vastly different with the time being so packed with different activities. Everyday there was something different to go and do. No matter how much you love something, it’s necessary to have that ability to switch off for even the briefest of moments. I had to find more effective and efficient ways to step away, after a data session or on an off day, and I feel I came away with these tools in my kit.

Working with young karters is always enlightening.

Onto something more recent. Since I’ve gotten back, in December I had yet another opportunity to work with some young drivers with MPG Motorsports at the SKUSA Supernationals XXV in Las Vegas. If you’ve never been, it’s the top karting race in the US, drawing karters from around the globe, and is always a spectacle. I love the opportunity to share some of the knowledge I’ve gained through my years in this amazing sport and to pass it onto young drivers, and learn from them as well. I’ve had many coaches throughout my time in racing and it’s safe to say that they have done much to help me develop as a driver, and I enjoy having the chance to do the same. I also wrapped up my year at Daytona for WKA Kart Week, again working with MPG alongside my friend Braden Eves, another former Team USA Scholarship winner.

Great times spent with William Ferguson and Thomas Schrage (Gary Hawkins Photography).

To round this off I want to say a personal thank you to everyone who has helped along the way. I will always be grateful for the entire Ammonite Motorsports group – Andy, Rianna, Sue and Steve Low; my personal mechanics Matty Naylor and Adam Thomas, team mechanics Bruce, both Bens, Craig and James; the long list of supporters who made everything happen; and finally my teammates Thomas and William who made my whole experience all the more special. I feel as if I’ve made many lifelong friends that would not have been possible otherwise. We made memories that I will never forget and will cherish for the rest of my life.

As for 2023, I don’t have concrete plans lined up yet, but I’m working to make a return to some Formula Ford racing and possibly a taste of sports cars. So I hope to see you at the track. Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy 2023, and good racing from whatever side of the track you may be on.

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