|Ingrid took on a new track and a new car type at two races in Savannah, GA on April 22nd and 23rd, 2006. It was Ingrid's first time in a Formula 500 in race conditions. It was also Ingrid's first drive at Savannah's Roebling Road.|
The F500 uses a closed differential, which in addition to the car's speed, means that turns must be taken in a different style than many other cars road racing. "I am really learning that this car more than anything I've driven demands smooth hands and smooth footwork," said Ingrid after qualifying for her second race on Sunday.
Roebling Road's extremely fast turns also make learning a machine like the Dolphin Motorsports F500 difficult initially. Ingrid was told by several drivers that learning a new car while driving Roebling for the first time was an impressive combination to test anyone's skill.
In the Saturday race, Ingrid's Dolphin Motorsports #4 F500 blew an engine near the end of the race. Dolphin's team mechanics theorized that this was due to being run at half-throttle for several laps of yellow flagged racing about halfway through the event. Ingrid had avoided the crashes that caused the yellow caution flags to come out, but her engine self-destructed soon thereafter.
Overnight, Ingrid was switched to another car, the Dolphin Motorsports/Kohler #4 F500, due to the other car's engine damage. But even while learning yet another car, Sunday saw Ingrid improve futher, cutting two seconds off of her earlier best times even in horrible conditions. Traffic, slow track caused by extreme temperatures, and tires worn down to the wear indicators by the end of the day did not stop Ingrid from doing her very best lap on the last lap of the last race! Locked in a battle with a Club Ford which she passed going on to the back straight, Ingrid finished ahead of the attrition that had claimed other cars.
Her driving coach, Clint McMahan, commented, "she improved under the absolute worst conditions. I would have maybe been able to do [a good lap]. Those tires were GONE and the track was a lot slower than it had been all weekend."
In the end, Roebling's double-SARRC event meant two more races with credit for finishing for Ingrid. "The number 4 car is the fastest F500 in a straight line in the country," said Ingrid. "It was squirrely on the tires at the end and with the sand on the track from the other cars, but I was shocked when they threw the checkered flag because I felt almost like the race was just starting!"
Ingrid's entire weekend was summed up best by her last comment to her coach: "I can't believe the race is done. I was getting ready to try to push the car even further to the limits!"
Pictures of the events are available in the SARRC section of this site, here.