Each season, Red Bull Global Rallycross drivers help fans experience the sport through new lenses by completing a series of blog posts about everything from their training routines to their on-track experiences. Throughout the 2017 campaign, Red Bull GRC and NESN Fuel will bring you insights from Supercar rookie for Bryan Herta Rallysport and Weston, Mass.-native Cabot Bigham.
The season finale is upon us and I am counting the hours.
Oct. 14 is the day I have been waiting for since I left Seattle. It was difficult to be a spectator in the Pacific Northwest, but it was easily the most important race I have attended this year. I gave my seat to Austin Cindric for the weekend. Kudos to him for nursing her to fifth place! While he was doing the dirty work, I got a chance to see what GRC was all about.
Spectators, you have it easy! It was amazing not walking around in sweaty driving gear all day. People actually wanted to talk to me because I didn’t radiate stink waves. Lots of great fans paraded around the paddock and struck up a conversation with me, asking questions about the series, cars and stiff competition. I found myself doing some announcing during the weekend as well. GRC’s best announcer had me in the booth. We were chatting about the new qualifying format, future GRC plans, and the heated track battles. It was great media practice! Between races I would bike through the paddock, looking for cool photographers to chat up. I spent a lot of time with some Lites friends and eventually would return to the Herta hauler. Overall it was a totally weird experience being out of the car. The lack of stress began to stress me out.
Going back to Los Angeles brings back amazing memories.
Last year, I secured the title on Sunday by driving from last to first (Day 2 of our doubleheader). It was my best performance to date and an adrenaline-charged evening. I can remember my cool-down lap and thinking, “this is truly why you never give up.” I remember screaming at the top of my lungs while taking the jump one last time. My radio was dead silent, my body was shaking, and my eyes were tearing up. I went into that final race thinking maybe I had a chance for second place.
I came out the champion by one position. I climbed out of my car and choked back the tears of disbelief, only to be pushed back down in the seat by three screaming men. They began to soak the car and all that is holy with champagne. And I mean the real stuff, not the sparkling grape juice from snack time. This stuff burns the eyes, in the greatest way possible. I will never forget those moments, standing on the roof feeling bigger than Mount Everest, doing one last Lites donut. Being back at the port will surely bring sweet memories, but I won’t let this shadow the reason I am returning. I want to win.
Last year, Patrick Sandell made our car lightening fast. He was challenging for the lead all weekend. I know I can get the car up to speed quickly, and I cannot wait to start tuning it come Friday. Everyone on the team is thirsty for a podium, and what better place to put on a show than beautiful Los Angeles. The track layout should be very similar to the one from last year. This will play into the hands of repeat supercar drivers like Tanner Foust, Scott Speed and Austin Dyne. Despite this, I still drove the track last year and know the quirkiness of the corners and the type of dirt used. The jump is big, but our entry speed is slow, the dirt is hard-packed and becomes blue grooved, and the track gets hot! All of these characteristics are worthy of analyzing before heading to the track. This allows me to subconsciously know these factors, and use my conscious mind for more timely matters such as car setup or my sandwich order.
Overall, I am very excited for L.A. It is just after my 21st birthday, it is my home race and who doesn’t like a vacation to SoCal? I will be driving to the event so I will have all the amenities of home.
This venue is one of my favorites and I cannot wait to drop the hammer. It has been a joy writing these driver blogs and I hope you have enjoyed them too. One final push in 2017, let’s put this Ham machine on the steps!
Thumbnail photo via Red Bull Content Pool
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