Spring may still be a month away, but Sebring International Raceway sits basking in warm Florida sunshine, lulled by a gentle warm breeze. It's all ideal for getting acquainted with the cars and people that will be home away from home for the...
Spring may still be a month away, but Sebring International Raceway sits basking in warm Florida sunshine, lulled by a gentle warm breeze. It's all ideal for getting acquainted with the cars and people that will be home away from home for the 2000 Barber Dodge Pro Series drivers.
It occurs in every sport. Those first days of conditioning when everyone is brimming with optomistic enthusiasm. 12 races lay out in the open, up for grabs, and in these early days, prior to sizing up the competition, one and all stand as potential victors. There was much light-hearted banter among fellow competitors. Returning drivers caught up with one another; new drivers learned the ropes. New paint schemes were unveiled while others still contemplated theirs. Everyone began to settle into a rhythm.
Today's first day afforded the 28 drivers slated to take the green flag at the 2000 season opener four weeks hence up to 50 laps to dial in their Barber Dodge Reynard 98E race cars. Lap times on this first day were less the issue than simply getting more comfortable with their work environment. Most of the drivers have spent seat time in the cars over the winter, and as that comfort level grows, the adjustments become more finite. The focus window narrows. Seat and pedal positions become more critical. Set-up of the car starts to move from the deductive to the intuitive. It's all part and parcel of the race driver's craft. The things which we as road drivers take for granted begin to take on the utmost significance for the race car driver.
And that is what spring training is all about. Eliminate as many of the variables possible so that on race weekend, the commitment is total.