SBRS: Jay Ricci, Racing in his back yard

When Jay Ricci was a boy he would drive with his father from their home in Grosse Pointe, Michigan to downtown Detroit fifteen minutes away to see the Detroit Grand Prix. When he was six, Ricci's father bought him a go kart that looked like an...

When Jay Ricci was a boy he would drive with his father from their home in Grosse Pointe, Michigan to downtown Detroit fifteen minutes away to see the Detroit Grand Prix. When he was six, Ricci's father bought him a go kart that looked like an Indy Car. On Sunday morning Jay Ricci will start in the Barber Dodge Pro Series race in support of the Detroit Grand Prix for the second time.

"I have pictures of myself standing along the fence when I was a kid at the Detroit Grand Prix back when it was Formula One," says Ricci, now 24, who didn't think back then that he would race here in the not too distant future.

Ricci's full time occupation is owning and managing a successful J.D. Byrider franchise. Unlike other drivers in the Pro Series who dedicate themselves fully to racing, Ricci dedicates himself fully to his work so that he can race. J.D. Byrider is a national chain that sells and finances pre-owned automobiles.

"I have to work 16 hours a day at the office when I'm not at the racetrack so that I can be at the racetrack," states Ricci.

Yet it doesn't mean that he is not serious about his racing. Ricci began racing three years ago in SCCA Regional and then National competition in a Formula Mazda. Consistent Top-5 finishes and several wins persuaded him to try his hand at the Barber Dodge Pro Series last year. He new it would be a tough road to hoe, but he is determined to find success.

"Last year my fastest lap around Belle Isle was a 1:37.70 sec. This year my fastest is a 1:35.80 sec and we still have one more qualifying session to go," Ricci said. "My goal this year is to start scoring points paying positions consistently."

"I know where I drive well and I know where I don't," he continued. "I'm good in the slow to medium speed corners, but I need to be faster in the high speed corners. What it comes down to is getting more time in the car, and learning its nuances. The faster guys can come into a corner at 120 mph, feel the car twitch, correct it and get back to power. I need to develop that comfort level, because a slight hesitation costs fractions of a second."

Detroit is special to him not only for it being his hometown, but for that fact that friends and family get to see him pursue his passion firsthand. Pursue that passion he will, going faster one lap at a time.

-George Tamayo

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About this article
Series Other open wheel
Drivers Jay Ricci