Trent Hindman – Home Sweet Home

Written by Team USA. Posted in Driver Blogs, Trent Hindman

Published on November 10, 2011 with No Comments

Wayside, New Jersey (November 10, 2011) – Ah, home at last! Even though I really enjoyed having the Dempsey’s as “parents” (they are the BEST people!) and being at Silverstone was awesome, it is nice to finally sleep in my own bed. I do have to admit I missed my family just a little bit, too! My two trips to England were definitely the most incredible experiences of my life so far. Every single moment was exciting, from the trips back and forth alone through the airports, to driving on legendary tracks, to working with all the awesome people at Cliff Dempsey Racing – and getting used to their accents! – and, mostly, to meeting so many new people that I am now proud to call my friends. I really hope I can go back sometime soon because the learning experience was second-to-none!

The last time I reported to you, I had the opportunity to visit Jaguar, McLaren and Lola Cars (RIGHT, with Sebastien Bourdais’ multiple Champ Car title winning car, courtesy Sam Smith). Finally, on Thursday, we began testing. I got my first taste of a wet/damp Silverstone, which made it pretty challenging to learn the track. On Friday, the conditions for testing were the same as Thursday – wet in the morning then semi-dry in the afternoon. At this point, I was definitely ready for a wet race if there was to be one. Saturday morning was the first time it was not fully wet when the day started. I had my qualifying session in the morning and my first heat race in the afternoon. I managed to place myself third on the grid in qualifying, but I was bumped up to second after some penalties were given after qualifying. My heat race was off to a good start! I held my position and around Lap 3, I was able to work my way up to the lead and stay there for the remainder of the race. It turned out to be an excellent day for the Cliff Dempsey Racing team as I won my heat, Neil dominated his, and Cormac O’Neill took the checkers in his heat as well. Cliff and Andrew Jones (my mechanic/car owner) were really happy that I was finally able to get the track down. We were looking forward to a good day on Sunday.

Saturday night was amazing, too. Neil, the team and I headed to the Jimmy Brown Centre for a forum. Neil and I were interviewed along with all of the other drivers who won heats throughout the day. It was great fun! We got back to the hotel around 11:00 pm. It was a long but awesome day, as I had a chance to meet and hang out with many of the drivers I was competing against. They were a bunch of really cool guys. Cliff kept taking me around the room, introducing me to people, which was very nice of him. He’d say, “ Hi, this is Trent. He’s 12!” Ha! Ha! It was actually very funny! Once Neil and I got back to our hotel, we basically just fell into our beds. Luckily, we weren’t on track for our Semi Final until around 1:00 pm Sunday afternoon.

Sunday morning was the first bright and sunny morning since Wednesday! It was great to finally see that the sun was out and the ground was dry. That meant we would finally have a dry racetrack. I was kind of worried in a way because I did not have the chance to drive on a dry Silverstone, so I didn’t know what to expect. I guess I would have to learn fast! To make the Grand Final, you had to finish in the top 18 in your Semi Final, so the pressure was certainly on. Thankfully, my Semi Final was very good. I was up against some tough competition. I started second and stayed there for the first few laps. Eventually I fell back to fourth but I was still able to be in the fight for the lead. I felt good about that because I knew we had a good shot at being in the hunt for a podium in the Final. I lined up in seventh for the Grand Final event of the weekend. This was it, this was the race that would decide the 2011 Walter Hayes Trophy champion. It was no longer all about just “trying to get through.” This was going to be the all-out, cutthroat, take-no-prisoners racing – just like I expected it would be.

I got off to a good start but I was blocked by another driver going into Turn One and eventually lost a few positions. I slowly was crawling my way back up through the pack, but quickly losing touch with the lead six cars. There was contact. There was passing (BELOW, courtesy Jeff Bloxham). And there was tire smoke everywhere. It was insane! It was about six laps in that I started to hunt down the lead pack. I was working well with Ivor McCullough and we caught the lead pack very quickly. Catching a group is one thing, passing them and getting through it is another story… The fight for the lead was now seven cars. I found myself up to third until I had contact with another driver and fell to the back of our little pack. Again, I worked my way through it. I continued battling for the final podium spot with three other drivers until, finally, I saw the checkered flag and that was it, the race was over and I ended up sixth. I was very pleased with the result. The drivers here are so good and have so much experience. I really had a blast racing against them! But for the life of me, I cannot figure out how Josef Newgarden, Conor Daly and Connor De Phillippi managed to get wins over here in the UK when they represented Team USA, They made it look so easy! I tried my hardest to bring home the win for Cliff Dempsey Racing, but sixth was all I could do.

To be very honest with you, this whole experience has been everything I imagined it would be – and more. Absolutely fantastic! It was truly an honor and a privilege to be part of the Team USA Scholarship. To represent your country on foreign soil is like no other feeling in the world. It’s exciting, a bit scary, and humbling all at the same time. I would encourage all the Junior drivers out there in the U.S. to look into Jeremy’s program, work hard and prepare yourself for what could be your chance of a lifetime. I would give anything to go back to Europe and race again; that’s how much I personally enjoyed it! Trust me; it is not easy. There are expectations and commitments both on and off the track. But I know that because of everything I learned and experienced in the UK, I will definitely become a better, more mature driver.

My heartfelt thanks go out to Jeremy Shaw, Cliff and Michelle Dempsey, my mechanic/car owner Andrew Jones, the entire Cliff Dempsey Racing team and all of the supporters of the Team USA Scholarship. They are the people who made it all happen!

I hope you all enjoyed reading and following along. I want you to know how much I truly appreciated all of your support.

Thanks for being a great audience!
Trent

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