Please wish the newest member of the Trackside Online a warm welcome! Aaron Telitz, a Wisconsin native and Cooper Tires USF2000 powered by Mazda sophomore will be blogging for us this season. The 2014 USF2000 rookie of the year is currently a senior at the University 0f Wisconsin – Eau Claire. You can see him piloting the Rice Lake Weighing Systems sponsored No. 3 for Cape Motorsports with /WTR.
The getting to know you portion of the program:
Welcome back readers! I’m pumped to be writing this blog honestly. Because this means I’ve been in a race car recently! We are going to get into the highs and lows of my season so far in a jiff but first I wanted to cover something a little different.
This past weekend was “Opening Weekend”. Which anyone who bleeds red white and blue realizes is the first weekend of Baseball Season. So this got me thinking about my family history and I figured you guys might enjoy a little story time before we get into the usual race weekend jargon.
I am not the first person in my family to pursue a career in the sporting world. My Great Grandfather, Fred Thomas played professional baseball for the Boston Red Sox. He played third base and was teammates with Babe Ruth before he was traded to the Yankees. The highlight of his career was when he helped Boston win the 1918 World Series against the Chicago Cubs. As many of you know that was the last World Series the Red Sox would win for decades until the “Curse of the Great Bambino” was finally broken in 2004.
During the 1918 World Series a tradition was started that still holds to this day in almost every form of sport. I am talking about the playing of the National Anthem at sporting events! World War I was in full swing during 1918 and Fred was on furlough from the Navy so he could play baseball. The crowd at Wrigley Field was not into the first game of the series at all. So during the seventh inning stretch the band fired up the National Anthem and Fred, standing at his place on third base immediately faced the flag and snapped to attention in a military salute. The rest of the players and crowd followed suit in “civilian fashion”. Then the entire stadium began singing along and for the first time all night showed a little life. When the series went to Fenway Park the band there followed suit and a tradition was born! Eventually the playing of the National Anthem was moved to the beginning of games and it has stuck ever since. You can read the full story here: The history of the national anthem in sports.
When Fred retired from baseball in 1924 he headed up to Northern Wisconsin to build his dream, a fishing resort on Big Lake Chetac. The Fred Thomas Resort has been ran by the Thomas Family for four generations now and I am proud to call it my home.
The racing portion of the program
So now you know a little more about my family and we can get into some gushy racing topics.
My season started off exactly 51 times better than my 2014 campaign. I left St. Pete last year with a torn up car and one championship point. This year I left with two second place finishes and 51 championship points! So you could say things are going better. I was happy with my consistency at St. Pete but was definitely looking to be on a little better pace at NOLA.
NOLA Motorsports Park is really a lovely track to drive and race (if you ignore the fact that it is built in a swamp). It is very fast with great passing zones. I was super happy with my Rice Lake Weighing Systems/Safe Is Fast/Team USA Scholarship car going into qualifying. I missed pole position by .016 seconds! the spread between first to third in qualifying was just .025 seconds. Nico, Jake and myself might as well have just played “Rock, Paper, Scissors” for pole position.
Starting on the outside at NOLA is quite a challenge because of how fast the first corner is. I had to really throw it in late in order to stay in front of Jake at the start. I was then under attack on the entire opening lap. This allowed Nico to pull a big gap on the first lap. Once the race settled down I ran the fastest laps of the race by 0.2 seconds which gave me pole position for Sunday’s race. I wasn’t able to catch Nico so I settled for my third middle step podium finish in a row!
On Sunday the swamp took over the track as heavy rain fell. I was definitely pleased with starting on pole position for Race Two, as I would not have to deal with any spray! On the pace laps I realized we should have installed a rudder and propeller on my car. There were puddles that you could have mistaken as small lakes. I made a great start and held first place for the opening lap. The real challenge was not so much going around corners but instead it was just trying to go down the straights. About five times a lap my car would randomly decide to “board slide” the puddles.
For those of you not familiar with snowboarding terms see exhibit A:
The race was going great but on the third lap while in the lead my half-shaft couldn’t be bothered to continue and decided to eject itself out of the hub. I was pretty devastated to have potentially my first win of the year stripped by a mechanical failure. But racecars are machines and machines break!
It’s early in the season and I’m ready to bounce back in a couple weeks at Barber. Giant thanks to Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing for such a fast car all weekend. Also, thank you to Rice Lake Weighing Systems, Mazda Motorsports, Cooper Tires and all of my supporters! I am also proud to be carrying the “Safe is Fast” and “Team USA Scholarship” colors this season!
And as always thank you to all of my readers.
You guys rock,
You can follow all of Telitz’s adventures on and off the track by following him on the various social media channels linked below: