This years Winter League at Lehigh Valley Grand Prix (LVGP) was a true turning point in Astrid’s racing career. During the previous Fall 2015 Junior League, Astrid was competing in Group B. Although Group B is quite competitive, Astrid’s goal had been to compete in Group A. Group A racers consistently hold and break track records at LVGP and are typically one to two seconds faster a lap than Group B.
LVGP offers an eight week program each Spring, Fall and Winter where drivers race each Saturday morning. The morning consists of an eight minute qualifying session followed by a twenty minute position race. The karts are gas powered and reach a top speed of 45 mph on the indoor road course.
During the Winter League Week 1 race, Astrid qualified P1 in Group B. During the race she immediately pulled away from the 10 other racers, maintaining a tremendous lead over the field. About mid race during the 20 minute feature, she began to lap the field. A caution would reset the field with Astrid out in front. Astrid pulled away from the field again to finish P1.
With the domination that took place during Astrid’s first race in the Winter League, LVGP owner Mike McCreary suggested to move Astrid into Group A for the rest of the Winter League. Astrid was ecstatic. She had met her goal and would be competing in Group A. Astrid’s parents explained to her that the competition would be tough in Group A, she would need to “hit the reset button” and not only work on her lap times but, passing and race strategy as well.
Astrid understood this and replied, “I don’t need to win, I need to learn…and this group will help me…”. Her response was spot on. During the Winter League in Group A, Astrid struggled the first 2 races. Finishing twice 8th out of 10 and once 9th. Surprisingly, Astrid took it in stride. No sore losing coming from this young lady. When asked how she felt about it she simply replied, “I just need to keep practicing…”. And practice she did.
Every Friday before the Saturday morning league competition, Astrid would practice at LVGP. As one would expect, Astrid began to improve, greatly improve.
By week 4 of the 8 week league, Astrid had shaved 2 seconds off her lap time and was now able to qualify in the top 5. Even qualifying P2 her 5th race. By week 8 Astrid had developed her skills to compete very well within the top 5 of Group A. She not only brought her lap times down but, she began to understand how to strategize and what it means to race in a very competitive environment.
Astrid finished 6th in the 2016 Winter League Points Championship. However, she’s a true winner for her determination and attitude.
As Astrid reflected on the 2016 Winter League, she joked that she was the “Biggest Mover” as in almost every single 20 minute feature race she would manage to improve and pass and would finish better than qualified or better.