Following the inaugural Barber Dodge Pro Season race from Sebring International Raceway, Pro Series pilot Davy Cook highlighted a remarkable weekend that resulted in a second place podium finish. Here, in his own words, the Florida native takes us...
Following the inaugural Barber Dodge Pro Season race from Sebring International Raceway, Pro Series pilot Davy Cook highlighted a remarkable weekend that resulted in a second place podium finish. Here, in his own words, the Florida native takes us through car set-up, qualifying and opening round action from Florida.
"It was 90-degree heat for the five-day race week opener at Sebring. On the upside of things there was a lot of seat time. Plus, all the Pro Series testing is done there, which allowed for an even playing field. My coach Mike Zimicki had my teammate Christian Szymczak and I meet about 6:30 every morning for a meeting and then we usually did not leave the track until about 7pm. Generally, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Leo Maia, and I would then head down to Outback Steakhouse or Chilis to grab some food for dinner. We would then call it a night and head back to our hotels or for me, the rented RV.
"We came into the race week with good set-up info from all the testing. As a result, we were quick out of the box. So, all we did throughout the week was chase changing track conditions and tires. Nevertheless, we went over data after every session from the Pro car to try and find where the speed was. With a long drawn out week, we had to be careful not to overanalyze things.
"We were confident with the car heading into qualifying and knew that towards the 2nd half of the session I would probably pit for a wing or shock change and head back out to pull off my quick lap as the fuel load dropped. It went as planned and I ended up placing myself 4th provisionally. I wanted to go quicker than I did but I knew that I would have the chance in final qualifying because it was going to be in the morning. It was a touch cooler for final qualifying, so the times were faster as the track was not as slick and the engines produced more power. Again, I came in during the session and my coach had a shock change ready for the car and I went back out. With 1 lap to go, I set the pole time but unfortunately, A.J.
"Allmendinger was on a flyer and pieced together an impressive lap. That always seems to happen. My time was good for 2nd overall but under new CART rules, the provisional pole sitter, Nilton Rossoni, was guaranteed a front row start. That moved me to 3rd,which I was fine with as it gave me the inside on the start.
"Peter Argetsinger, driver and Barber Dodge coach, told me before the race, "You can win the race, but you have to finish." Very well said and taken to heart as my plan was to attach to A.J.'s gearbox on the start and pull away from Rossoni. Instead, I got such a good launch on the start that I easily had the lead into turn 1. So, A.J. attached to my gearbox and we quickly opened up a big lead. We swapped positions 3 more times after that until A.J. got by me for good on lap 9 of 19. I hung behind hoping to make a run at him late in the race but with about 4 laps to go I could not get the car to downshift into turn 3 and went way wide. He opened up a 3 second lead and I realized that 2nd was what I had to settle for and that was a lot of points I was happy with going towards the championship."
The second round of the Barber Dodge Pro Series is slated for Lime Rock Park on May 27th. Cook showed strong last year when, as a rookie, he qualified on pole for Round 4 at the picturesque 1.53-mile road course.