JAMES DAYSON ST. PETERSBURG BLOG PART I – THE BEGINNING
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
Facebook: James Dayson Racing
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