Shortly before taking the start of round 10 of the Formula Dodge National Championship Presented by RACER at Gateway International Raceway, Davy Cook, Bryan Sellers and Jon Morley talked about their experiences racing cars professionally for the...
Shortly before taking the start of round 10 of the Formula Dodge National Championship Presented by RACER at Gateway International Raceway, Davy Cook, Bryan Sellers and Jon Morley talked about their experiences racing cars professionally for the first time in their careers. The Barber Dodge Pro Series provided the trio with that opportunity. Morley came first, racing at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in mid-August, while Cook and Sellers made their debuts the following week at Road America. Both rounds of the Pro Series were of course racing in support of the CART FedEx Series.
The fact that they were competing at a CART event did not escape their attention. The sheer number of people that they were showcasing their talents in front of, from the paying spectator to the hoards of racing industry professionals left a lasting impression on Cook and Sellers, both 18 and Morley, 20.
"It was the first time in my career that so many people took an interest in the racing," said Cook referring to the multitudes watching from Road America's hillsides where he finished 18th out of 26 drivers, but not before engaging in an intense battle with Sellers and Tom Fogarty. Sellers came out ahead finishing the Road America race 12th.
All three echoed the thought, saying that each had taken the time to notice the crowds during the parade lap and during a safety car period. When the green flag flew, however, it was all business.
When it did come down to business, the learning curve was a steep one.
"I was all over the place with my set-up," said Morley who finished the race 15th out of 29 starters at Mid Ohio. "But it was great working on the car, trying to get the back end working."
"I think it was the best learning experience for me in my racing career," offered Sellers. "Every day brought something new like working with the mechanics and coaches on all the aspects of driving a racecar. There were so many chances to interact with a variety of people."
It wasn't just the series engineer, coaches and mechanics that offered advice throughout the weekend. Sellers, for one, was appreciative of Sepp Koster's wisdom when it came to driving the Barber Dodge Reynard 98E. Morley found that lapping behind Matt Plumb during a practice session insightful. One race outing for the trio was hardly enough however. The learning curve they all agreed would continue to be a steep one as they continued to delve into professional racing.
Yet for everything that they all found so challenging during their debuts, other worries were eased. Sellers, apprehensive before the start, found that it was no more or less difficult than the starts he had faced as a karter or the in the Formula Dodge National Championships. The others nodded in agreement. Cook added that he simply gained a greater appreciation of all of the dynamics involved in present day professional racing.
They also found that professional racing came with certain fringe benefits.
"Getting asked for autographs and the autograph sessions were pretty unique," said Sellers and Cook.
"Having my picture taken with a good looking girl," Morley reminisced wryly.
In the end, it was another race on their resume, one that they have rerun in their minds time and time again, in search of the perfect lap wondering were they could have gained a tenth here, a thousandth there. As they aptly demonstrated, they'll find that time, and climb that ladder of professional racing.