Welcome to Jimmy D’s first blog. I will be providing these after each race and tests that occur during the 2015 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season. I hope to give you, the reader, greater insight into my journey, who I am and what I go through in a race weekend beyond just the results.

Firstly a bit of background on me, I’m 36 years old and have only been racing since 2011. It had always been my dream to race, and in my early 30’s I decided it was time. You only live once, so live life to the fullest. Don’t let your dreams be a barrier, embrace them head first, which is exactly what I did with my pursuit of racing at a professional level. I didn’t want to be on my deathbed saying “why didn’t I give it a go at racing?”

Prior to 2011 I had never even set foot in a car. As you can imagine the learning curve was huge and at the outset I was quite awful. I really didn’t have any concept of what I was really getting myself into. I struggled immensely and often wanted to quit. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, I was ignorant and a bit naïve, thinking anyone can do it, was I ever mistaken.

I knew the physical demands on the body but not the true extent of it, as such my training had to change immensely – more focus on upper body strength, especially neck and shoulders. Then there was the mental and emotional side. The mental acuity and constant attention while driving was exhausting and took time to really harness. You have to ensure you are well rested and focused on driving, each apex, and each corner while being aware of your surroundings, what the car is doing and what else is happening around you with competitors, weather elements, track conditions etc. The mental is definitely the hardest part and the one that requires the greatest amount of attention, practice and work. As a great man, Jacques Dallaire says, “Be the best you can be in each moment.” It is easier said than done; yet being able to execute that every time I am in the car is the ultimate goal and thus perfection. Making sure that I leave nothing on the table and give it my all is another goal needed to be achieved. Yet I find there is often something that I leave out which constantly gives me something to improve on from session to session. There are always new challenges and I love embracing those.

When I began racing I didn’t have a lot of support aside from those within the racing world, mainly the series and most importantly my team. Having a wife and now a toddler at home has been hard on the family as I’m away quite a bit. Having to balance those aspects only adds to the struggles that I must face as an older professional race car driver.

I’ve been with ArmsUp Motorsports since mid 2012 and it has been one of the best decisions I’ve made while racing. They truly have become like my extended family. The bond a driver creates with his team is very unique. While racing is often seen as an individual sport I see it as a team sport. I am only as good as my team is and the car they provide me. We must constantly work together to achieve success. Ultimately it is my responsibility to go out on track and drive the car to the best of my ability.

Last season was a shortened season for me due to a debilitating back injury suffered in the offseason after 2013’s season. I blew a disc out in my lower back (not racing) and was out of action for 8 months. Strong perseverance and the unwavering support of my wife the nutritionist got me healed without surgery. After a massive diet change to heal the body and countless hours, days and weeks of rehab, I was able to make my comeback at Toronto. I ran the last three events which also included Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and Sonoma Raceway.

This past offseason was an opportunity to get more back in the rhythm and work on my race craft. Myself and the team had some great winter testing at Memphis, which included my first time on an oval track, what an experience. We also ran NOLA and Indy.

Finally after a disappointing Winterfest (USF2000 preseason races) for myself and the team we arrived at St. Pete.

Stay tuned for Part II – St. Pete coming in a couple of days

If anyone has any questions they’d like to ask or comments about the blog feel free to get in touch with me
Twitter: jimmydracing
Instagram: jimboreds
Facebook: James Dayson Racing



The last time I ran at Barber Motorsports Park was in February as part of our Winterfest races which comprised our pre-season races. The weather was very cold and wet, when the track started to dry I dropped a tire on the wet grass on the exit of turn 13 and was ever so quickly sucked into the wall, causing me to miss the first race.

Regular season brought new opportunities and challenges this time around at Barber. I was very excited to be back, it is such an incredible track and facility.

The track requires utmost attention to detail as the nuances of it make it a real challenge that tests each driver to the max. It is a flowing track and one in which the 17 turns have you always working and on your toes. The setting couldn’t be better, in the rolling hills of the charming city of Birmingham, Alabama where the people create a great welcome and warmth.

Barber can be split into 4 sections which are critical to gaining a quick lap. The first is the beginning. Your entry speed into turn 1 affects how you go through 2-3 which sets up the second straight down to turn 5. Carrying good speed and coming off the brake quickly will let you roll speed to the apex and getting back to power quickly will give you a better run down the next straight up to turns 8 & 9. You want to use all the curbing on the left of turn 8 and then be patient before rolling back to full throttle through nine and down to the esses where you are flat. Approaching turn 12 you turn in flat as the track drops away to the left. A quick dab of the brake and a downshift before reaching the apex of 13 and again you are back to full throttle leading through 14 & 15. Another light brake and two downshifts before rolling through 16. This a corner that you sacrifice in order to have a better setup for 17. A slight compromise and staying driver right will help you to be able to get to full power slightly sooner and stay that way through the banking of turn 17 and onto the start/finish straight.

The elevation changes at the track are much more dramatic than television or the on-board cameras perceive it to be. It is a thrill to drive.

Our weekend began with a promoters test day on the Thursday in which we had three sessions. The first couple was spent reacquainting with the track and getting in that flow and rhythm that every driver talks of achieving.

Friday morning we had another practice session and midday we had qualifying. I was improving lap times and pushing myself more. My goal for the session was to carry more rolling speed into the very quick sequence of turn 8 & 9, especially the high speed drop of 12 and rise up to 13. These corners are where lots of time can be gained if done right or lost if you make an error. Towards the end of qualifying I was on some good fliers when all of a sudden we had some issue. I had lost power, at first I thought I’d lost my gears. I pulled off on the escape road and tried to see what I could do, chatting with the team the whole time. Then I was able to grab a gear and headed back on track only to have the car lose all power. I tried rolling backwards to the escape road but couldn’t. Unfortunately I caused a red flag as they had to come and recover my car. This meant that I would lose my fastest lap as a penalty for causing the red flag. It was frustrating to have a voltage issue but that’s racing and things like that occasionally happen.

Things got sorted and late on Friday we had our first race. I was starting P15. I had a great start to the race and was right in the pack battling with my competitors. This is a challenging track to pass on and I never managed to make the moves I needed to. That being said I had one of the best races I’ve ever driven. Despite not getting the results I wanted, I got out of the car very happy with the progress I had made. I had achieved another personal best lap time and had pushed myself and the car to a different level. Those are the things to focus on while racing: if you keep improving the results will come. Being too driven by the results can often compromise the process that leads to the finish.

The next day we had much of the day off as we weren’t racing until late again. We spent part of the day watching some of the other races on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder which included the Pro Mazda and Indy Lights series. We then had the pleasure of welcoming back the fans from the Indy Fans Tweet Up. We brought them through the ArmsUp garage and showed them the cars. They certainly enjoyed getting the inside scoop and learning a bit of the behind the scenes of racing in USF2000. Our series autograph session at the Indy Fan Village was next. It was filled with many smiling faces of the younger fans who were incredibly well mannered and polite in their interactions with us.

Upon returning to the trailer I had the pleasure of meeting a young race fan and his father who had reached out to me on twitter. The child was so excited to be at the race and was an avid fan. I learned of some of his many interactions with drivers, mainly within IndyCar. It was great getting to interact with him and his father. They were incredibly appreciative and I was glad I was able to help enhance their experience at the race weekend. They will be attending the Indy 500 weekend and I told them to come back and visit us at our garage as we race on a different oval at the Night before the 500.

While hanging with my fans, well the two I previously mentioned, the skies opened up and gave us a fresh sprinkling and moistening of the track. The rain passed through quickly yet our race was slightly delayed as the track crew cleared as much of the standing water off the track. Finally it was go time. We had two formation laps behind the pace car, one more than dry races just to give all the drivers the opportunity to see how the track is. Then it was green flag.

I had a brilliant start from the back and a spin at turn 3 by a competitor gave me the advantage to take 3 positions. Wet races have been a struggle for me in the past, yet this time I embraced it even more and pushed myself to newer levels. I was more aggressive and craved greater efficiency in my execution in those conditions. I had some great battles for positions and was running fast lap times for the beginning of the race. I was going quicker than many of my competitors and gaining on them. There was a slight incident and we had a yellow flag bring out the pace car. On the restart I had a bad exit out of 16 and 17 and created a bit of a gap to the pack. I pushed hard and started closing on them in the latter part of the race. Unfortunately with a few laps to go I started seeing a warning pop up on my dash display. With two laps to go I barely made it back to the pits where I had to retire. It was incredibly disappointing as I was having such a good race and keeping great pace. It was a tough pill to swallow but things like this happen in this sport. Our team has always done a phenomenal job with the cars and our reliability. This was the first mechanical retirement from a race for the team since 2012. Hopefully it was the last for a very long time to come.

After the race we found out it was a voltage issue. I was proud that I had pushed as hard as I had and that my fastest lap had been done with only 25% voltage. Who knows what would have been.

All in all I left Barber very proud of how I had driven. It was equally sweet to get some recognition and confirmation of that from a couple of individuals in the media who cover our series. I can’t wait to get back at it at the hallowed ground of Indianapolis Motor Speedway for our road course race.

Until next time. Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed it.

If anyone has any questions they’d like to ask or comments about the blog feel free to get in touch with me
Twitter: jimmydracing
Instagram: jimboreds
Facebook: James Dayson Racing


Thanks to everyone who read Part I. I hope you enjoyed it and are looking forward to reading this next chapter.

St. Pete is one of my favourite tracks. For a street circuit it is so smooth, something which is uncommon. The weather is usually amazing and often has some rain thrown in to mix things up a little bit more. One of my most enjoyable aspects of the event is the crowd, a very knowledgeable yet passionate crowd that really embraces the event and the drivers. I always have a blast when I come here. The anticipation that has built to St. Petersburg is always awesome, especially since it is the season opener for my series and often IndyCar as well.

I had raced St. Pete in 2013 when I was competing in the USF2000 series as a national class competitor, the last year there were two classes. Coming back in 2015 presented new excitement and challenges I was ready to embrace.

Friday went well. It was a matter of reacquainting myself with the track, especially in a different car. There is a great flow to the track and once you are able to dial that in it is an awesome feeling. Our lap times are considerably slower than the more powerful IndyCar, yet we still whip around the track with great speed. The quickest guys in my series were doing 1:13.5 lap times while I was a few seconds off the pace at 1:17.2.

Our second session on Friday was cut short by rain, with no possibility of anymore rain throughout the weekend our team decided to pit and not risk doing potential damage to the car on a slick track. We weren’t the only ones who made the call as the rest of the field also parked in the pits for the last ten minutes of the session.

Saturday morning brought a dry track and our first qualifying session of the season. I was jacked and knew the areas I needed to improve. Going into each session I always have 3 things that I need to focus on to gain more time. For qualifying one such issues was to stop “crabbing.” The previous practice session I had been creeping into the corner ever so slightly during the brake zone in a few corners, turn 1 and 4 specifically. This causes the car to be a little unstable during turn-in and also gives me a worse exit of the corner because I’ve essentially turned in a little too early. Having patience and getting the eyes into the corner is key for helping overcome the problem.

At the end of qualifying I had gained 1.4 seconds from my personal best set the day before, yet I was disappointed that I was starting towards the rear of the field, P16. This is a struggle I often face, you come out of the car feeling really good about your session and the way you drove and then you do the comparison to others and you are frustrated. It is hard when we are in a sport that focuses so much on results and where you stack up against your competitors.

For me I was able to let it go quite quickly and realize that I had left a little bit out there where I could have driven better. This definitely seems to be the case for me and something to work on.

Race 1 I was focused and ready to have at it. Unfortunately luck would not be with me. As we rolled to grid I noticed I had a very soft brake pedal. I told Jake, my mechanic, after pumping the brake a few times to try and build up pressure we realized there was most likely air in the line. I was going to have to make do with the car I had and try to overcome the issue.

On the formation lap I struggled. One of the best ways to generate heat in our smaller powered cars is to get lots of heat into the brakes by accelerating and applying the brake with good pressure. This helps get temp in the brakes themselves which passes into core of the tire. I wasn’t able to do this well due to the soft brake pedal I was experiencing. We had the formation lap behind the safety car and then at turn 12 the grid slowed and formed. We came through 13, 14 and then the green flag awaited us.

I didn’t have the start I wanted but made it down to turn one, applied the brakes, missed an accident that had taken out my teammate Keyvan and proceeded to spin because my rear brakes had locked up.

I struggled the rest of the lap, having to use the runoff area at turn 10 before the team decided to call me into the pits to see what the issue was. Luckily the safety car was out because of the crash in turn 1. I brought the car in and quickly the boys jacked the front up. They quickly bled the front brakes (this helps get any air that is stuck in the brake line out). I heard one of our spotters saying where the field was behind the pace car. I desperately wanted to get out on the lead lap and hoof it around to catch up so that I wouldn’t be a lap down. As I heard them say the field is out of 14 and coming down the front straight, the car dropped and they released me.

I flew out of the pits through 2 and 3 and on the straight to 4. I hit the brakes a few hundred feet before my usual brake point knowing that I didn’t have temperature and to make sure the brakes were good. All of a sudden the rears locked and I was spun 180 degrees and rolling backwards. I knew there was a nice tire wall right behind me so I attempted to steer in my mirrors to avoid it. Driving backwards at speed is not enjoyable. Luckily I managed to avoid smashing the rear of the car but while adding a bit of steering lock (turning the wheel) I clipped the front left tire and busted one of the arms. My race was done without even finishing two laps. I was furious, not the way I wanted to start the season. I was taken back to the pits where I sat in shock and dismay. Oh well, that’s racing. I was proud of the team for the work they had done to get me out so quickly.

In the afternoon I got to enjoy meeting with a number of the fans at the IndyCar tweet up. It was a blast with lots of laughs. This to me is such a big part of what racing is all about, connecting with the fans. After all they are the ones that make the sport possible, without them we’d be racing on small tracks by ourselves. I am very grateful. We even had travel chicken come out (look him up on twitter if you don’t know what I’m talking about). I got to interview my coach Steve with the chicken, I thought Steve would take a bite. I look forward to these moments at every race weekend. I like being able to be more than just a name for the fans.

With the brake problem behind us it was time to focus on Race 2. I was pumped to make up some ground and put the struggles of Race 1 behind me.

I had a great start and made a couple of places, again I was starting towards the back of the field. This had been one of my best starts ever, a problem I have been struggling with and constantly working on. Having the right timing is key to gaining positions at the green flag.

Yet again struggles would come to me. Prior to race 1 we had tried a different setup on the car to help with understeer (when the car doesn’t turn in through a corner the way you expect it, the grip isn’t there and gives a slight feeling of a push in the front). Unfortunately I didn’t have the opportunity to drive the setup because of the brake issues so Race 2 was my first time. The places I had gained at the start were promptly given back to my competitors by turn 10 as I had issue getting power down on the exit of corners. I didn’t have the rear grip I would have liked and as such had a loose backend which meant getting to full throttle slightly later than I needed. That meant the other cars had more speed coming out of 9 and took me on the kink up to turn 10.

I had a few issues with brake bias which was a mistake on my part and it caused me to have rear lock and a subsequent spin at turn 13. I was now too far behind the field and ended up finishing second last of the cars running.

I was lucky to gain some points which will help me in the overall championship points.

Next up is New Orleans, otherwise known as NOLA. A fun track and the first time IndyCar will be running there. It is a track I have grown familiar of, having tested there in January with the team and then we had two days and three races there during Winterfest.

There are some areas I need to be better, especially the last corner complex after the back straight from turn 10 onwards to the front straight. Being able to find more time here is key for my success. Not over slowing at turn 10 and rolling more speed through it is the biggest obstacle.

I can’t wait to see how I improve and hopefully get some good results, but most importantly leave nothing on the track, give it my all.

Until next time. Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed it.

If anyone has any questions they’d like to ask or comments about the blog feel free to get in touch with me
Twitter: jimmydracing
Instagram: jimboreds
Facebook: James Dayson Racing