MMP and the End of My Rookie Season, Bill Heumann

Miller Motorsport Park has the best "natural" scenery of any of the tracks we visited this year.

For those of you who don't know how it turned out already, here is the short summary. We went into the race with a 19 point lead in the points standings with only one competitor able to catch us, #74 from Compass 360. On the second lap of the race, our differential failed. Miraculously, I was able to coast the car around to our pit box. The crew did an amazing job getting the diff swapped out in under 30 minutes and we finished the race P20. #74 was running in fourth for a while which would have still given us the championship but the MX5 running in 3rd place blew its' engine with about 20 minutes to go giving them the 3rd place finish. This made us tied for the championship in points but the tie breaker is then determined by number of first place finishes, then seconds, thirds, etc. We were tied based on first and second place finishes but with this third place finish, the #74 driven by Dave Thilenius and Lawson Aschenbach won the championship.

This picture is of James doing what everyone on the team that was not in, or under, a car did for about the last hour. "What and how can we pull this off?"

We knew going into this race that we didn't have the championship locked up and we tried to approach this race just like every other one of the season. Our goal for the entire season was to finish in the top ten for every race with an average of 6th place, which luckily we had been able to do. Even with this finish outside of the top 10, our average finishing position for the year was 5.1 while #74 averaged 5.7! We had four podiums which was comprised of two firsts and two seconds. Up until this race, our worst finish had been 6th place.

In addition, I won the Mesco Building for the Future Rookie of the Year award. I am very proud of this award but is somewhat bittersweet. It is one of, if not the only, individual award in the series. While I am very proud of the job I did this season as a rookie, the truth is that I wouldn't have won the award without the BimmerWorld Team and my stellar co-driver, Seth Thomas. This is truly a team sport and everybody on the team carries their load when you do well. Of course, any single screw up can ruin the race and it was a big effort on all of our parts to insure that I drove at a competitive level while not making a fatal rookie mistake in the process. In fairness it seems like the award should be to the team and called something like "The Proper Care and Feeding of the Rookie Award."

Although things didn't go as well for us at Miller Motorsport Park as we hoped, it added to the sense of pride I have for our team. The fact that they were able to get a diff swapped out that quickly under a hot race car, allowing us to stay in the race and retain a shot at the championship, is nothing short heroic. I think the real measure of a person's worth is how they handle adversity. The individuals that make up the BimmerWorld team have shown time and time again what they are made of under adversity. We fought as hard as possible up until the checkered flag of every race and in the end lost by the very smallest of margins imaginable.

As everyone has heard time and time again, "that's racing!"

Along this vein, I did want to make mention of the guys who won the championship. They are top drawer individuals and both great racers. They were always there to congratulate us and shake hands after our successes. Some of those times were after they suffered from their own bad luck. They raced clean and had superb strategy and support from the Compass 360 Team. No one likes to lose, but it is some consolation when it is to champions of this caliber.

With my rookie season in the CTSCC ending, it is interesting to reflect back on where I was at the beginning and how much I have grown during the season.

As a result of a lot of practice, coaching from Seth, and data analysis with Seth, Dave and James I have clearly become a better driver. It is clear that I still have a long way to go to be competitive in pure speed with the top drivers, but I closed the gap significantly and I know most of things I need to do (or not do) to fix it.

This picture looks like it shows us looking over data.... but from my expression it might be something from the Internet...... whatever the case, I am clearly thinking "I haven't ever seen THAT before!"

Another thing I have learned this season is that if you are going to put four drivers in a small space for a race weekend, you should have good ventilation!

I think the most significant growth for me as a driver was in the reliability department. For those of you who know me from club racing, this is a big accomplishment! I became much more solid behind the wheel. By the third race I was calm and cool during the race despite the jostling and pressure. I consistently was able to bring the car home in clean condition high enough on the lead lap that Seth could do his job. The biggest factor in becoming more solid was learning to let go of my mistakes (instead of dwelling on them) and focus on the immediate task at hand.

This picture is of #81 with Seth at the wheel going through/over "Bad Attitude."

Despite what happened in the last session, the last lap, or the last turn, what is in front of you has infinite possibilities. Those upcoming turns will be perfect. You will nail them and exit onto the straight faster than anyone has before.....

I have also learned to ignore that fact that all racers are "pathological optimists!"

This picture clearly shows that the "pot of gold" is somewhere between T5- T7.

The joy of racing well is a really big high and I am really grateful that I have gotten to taste it on occasion. Of course, the the addiction is something of a problem....