Dear Diary: Peter Boss An Interesting Few Days in Phoenix Naragansett, Rhode Island's Peter Boss is a young driver at the crossroads. Now I his fourth year with the Barber Dodge Pro Series, he is ready to make the next step in his racing career.
Dear Diary: Peter Boss
An Interesting Few Days in Phoenix
Naragansett, Rhode Island's Peter Boss is a young driver at the crossroads. Now I his fourth year with the Barber Dodge Pro Series, he is ready to make the next step in his racing career. The question is whether it will continue in the single-seater classes or will his burgeoning sportscar career give rise to his future. In 2000 he competed in the top Sportsracer class in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The weekend prior to the second round of the Barber Dodge Pro Series it was a trip across the pond to compete in the LMP class in the European Le Mans Series. Until a decision is reached however, Boss will search for his elusive first Pro Series victory and continue to hone his racecraft in the series that has gotten him to where he is today.
Following is his account of round 2 of the 2001 Barber Dodge Pro Series at Phoenix International Raceway.
My Barber Dodge race weekend actually started a few days before in Donnington England, on the Saturday proceeding the Phoenix weekend. I was there to participate in the European Le Mans race in a Panoz for the Westward Racing team. The track at Donnington will go down as a new favorite of mine and I found it quite challenging. My teammate Jay Cochran and I finished fifth overall and beat out both of the factory cars, who were still trying to get their cars running correctly throughout the weekend. Needless to say we came away from the weekend very happy with the result.
I left England and headed back stateside for Easter with my family and then started to prepare for the flight out to Phoenix. I left New York City with fellow Barber Dodge driver Matt Plumb on Tuesday because we had open practice on Wednesday. On the flight out we talked about the track, which neither of us had been to except to run oval testing two years ago. Matt then proceeded to take me for thirty bucks in a dice type game called pigs; this would be an ongoing theme throughout the weekend.
We landed in Phoenix and saw that Barber Dodge Pro Series driver coach Barry Waddell was there to take our bags for us, but both Matt and I declined his generous offer and said that we would carry them ourselves. At the airport we also picked up Nick Longhi who would be working with both Matt and myself in the coming days as race engineer. It was an early evening with some debate on who would get the couch bed (I did), and after another losing round of pigs I was not sleeping comfortably.
We arrived at the track and took care of the usual business of checking in with Series Registrar Jean Fantelli and Peter Ledwith from Conceco Risk Management. Our first session showed me that this track was not very tricky and compared to Donnington not very fun. It is a very small, half-oval road course where you can not "out-drive" someone. With the amount of track time we had, and the relative ease of the track, this was going to be a very tight field. I was proven correct by the time sheet that had a lot of the field covered by 1 second. I had finished 8th in the session which was not what I expected. My car had a lot of oversteer on exit and this was hampering my getting to the throttle effectively. I tried a couple of different things to fix the problem but I could not get it to go away.
Our second session did not go much better even though I gained a few tenths, along with everyone else and finished the day tenth. If I had gone one tenth quicker I would have been in forth, this is just to show how tight it was. Matt, Nick, and I left the track to ponder the days events. We ended up getting together with fellow driver Sepp Koster and former Pro Series driver Todd Snyder for some sushi with a friend of mine from the Phoenix area. I found out that Sepp can devour fish like a champ, and was astounded by the amount of food that he polished off. If you get a chance and are a single young male you should check out the RA sushi establishment. The food is quite exquisite as well as is the waiting staff.
Thursday was qualifying day and Nick and I had come up with some ideas on how to get the car going a little better. The track was better and the day was a bit cooler than in practice so I felt good about moving forward. When I got out on track the car was still not planted in the rear and we tried two things to get it better. Again I had gone quicker but not moved up on the grid. This again was a very tight field and a tenth would have moved me to fifth. Needless to say I was not happy after qualifying but I new that I had another shot on Friday and that we would be getting new tires. The day was capped off by having dinner with George Tamayo the Pro Series PR man and Matt at a local Italian restaurant. We found out a lot about George and his past years at Chino, Fulsome, and Rikers Island. (I've actually never spent anytime in prison, but you know PR people are a devious sort-GT)
Friday was another qualifying and it still did not get any better. Again I had gone quicker but so had the pack and I had qualified tenth in the session and eleventh over all. I left the track and called it an early night. I had a lot of thoughts on how to get some more out of the car but again we are talking hundredths of seconds now.
Saturday would be a late race day at around four o'clock. When we got to the track around one o'clock Nick and I proceeded to make the necessary changes to the car, but had also found out that in the overnight check that my car had some things that were not right with the camber. This left us to ponder what changes we should make and how far we should go. There was also the legitimate threat of rain. We through a mixed set up on the car and raised the wings.
The race did not start well as my car had push, a symptom that we did not have all weekend, and it was fairly severe. I lost touch with the people in front of me while having to fight with those behind. Finally the car started to go back to a more neutral state and I found some speed out of it. I than had a great race with Ryan Hunter-ray and finished the day tenth overall. This was not a very good weekend for me. When I then saw that my roommate for the weekend Matt Plumb had been crashed out I didn't feel as bad but still not happy.
Well there is always the next race a double at Lime Rock where I have been on the podium the last two years. I look forward to the next race and a better result. My many thanks to all who helped me throughout the weekend at the Skip Barber organization.
-Peter T. Boss