Today was a better day for the Newman Wachs Racing Team. And although Andre Castro woke up this morning not feeling very well, as he had been battling a fever all week, he and his teammates Cameron Das and Dakota Dickerson took the green flag in this morning’s USF2000 race, under beautiful clear blue skies. All the drivers got through the first turn, and Dickerson made a great pass on the very first lap, moving up from fourth place to third. A few laps later, Mazda Shootout winner Oliver Askew passed him, with Rinus VeeKay right behind. It was a good clean race, and all three Newman Wachs Racing drivers drove a good race and finished in the top ten, with Dakota Dickerson in 6th place followed by Cameron Das in 8th, and Andre Castro in 10th position.
Dakota Dickerson (car #36): “The race was pretty good. At the start, I think everybody went a little too deep. We all got washed out wide. I was able to get one position and hold it for a few laps. But then Oliver (Askew) got me going into Turn 1 and from there, I was just trying to maintain position. It was a decent race. I’m glad we got some good points, but I wish we had better results for the Team.”
Andre Castro (Car #37) – I had a good start, and I was a little more comfortable getting around the track. It felt like the balance wasn’t quite right in the car. We fell back in the field, but we still managed to finish in the top ten. We can only build from here. It was pretty good considering this was my first ever race. The Team has been really good to me.”
Cameron Das (car #38) – “It went allright. We moved up a few positions to eighth. Turn 1 was pretty clean, everyone was pretty respectful, so that’s all we could really ask for. I had to defend my position a little, which sort of slowed down my momentum, but once I gapped the car behind me, I was able to pick off some people. I think if we’d had a few more minutes of race time, I could have gotten a few more positions. Overall, I think it was a really good race.
The second race didn’t go as well as the first one. Even though all 21 cars got through Turns 1 and 2, there were issues with some cars getting through Turn 3. Around Lap 4, Andre Castro caused a full-course yellow when he hit the wall really hard in Turn 2, trying to avoid 2 cars in front of him. His engineer, Alan O’Leary heard him say over the radio “I killed the car”. Thankfully, Castro was not injured, and the safety crew took him back to pit lane where he watched the rest of the race. Meanwhile, his teammate Cameron Das battled his way up from 18th position to 9th. Dakota Dickerson also ran a good clean race and finished in 6th place.
Dakota Dickerson (car #36): “The race was decent. We got an okay start initially and then I got railed and caught out in Turn 3, and that put us back to 5th place. We got held back there until the full-course caution. Then, on the re-start, I kind of blew Turn 1 a bit, went too wide and lost another spot, and maintained 6th position throughout the rest of the race. I was definitely expecting a bit more considering our pace earlier in the week, but at least we got some good points for this weekend. We just need to bounce back for our next race at Barber Motorsports, and I know the team can do it. I just need to execute.”
Andre Castro (Car #37) –”The start was pretty good. I went straight up the middle, and got a few spots. I think I gained six spots on the first lap, but then I was following a driver who hit the curb around Turn 2. I was right behind him, and next thing I knew, I went right into the wall, really hard, as I as going pretty fast there. This has been probably the most challenging week of my life, but I am really happy to be okay, and very thankful for the safety of these cars, because I really hit hard. I learned so many lessons this week. Now I need to move on, and I will go on and become a better driver. Life goes on. The Newman Wachs Racing Team has been unbelievable.”
Cameron Das (car #38) – “I had a decent start. I tried to make up as many positions as I could in the first lap. I was pretty good on the breaks, and the car felt good as well. I think we made some good improvements from this morning’s race as well. But, I was stuck behind a car and got shoved onto a curb and kind of hindered the progress a bit on the re-start, but I thought it was a really good race.”
Team Manager Brian Halahan: ”Overall, it was a pretty good weekend. The first day, we had three drivers in the top ten, so I was pretty pleased with that. Andre had some struggles with some crashing, but that’s part of learning. He still did a good job with rebounding after all his crashes. Today, in the second race, Cameron drove an outstanding race, coming from the back, and ending up in 9th, and Dakota did a great job both days with two top six finishes, so overall, I am happy with that. As for Andre’s big incident in race 2, I’m just happy he didn’t get hurt.”
About the Newman Wachs Racing Team: Newman Wachs Racing (NWR) is a racing team owned by Eddie Wachs and, until his death, American actor and racer himself, Paul Newman. NWR is based outside of Chicago, in Mundelein, Illinois. Newman and Wachs shared the same passion for racing and met when they both competed in the Can-Am Series in the mid-1970’s. They raced together for 15 years in Trans-Am, Can-Am, and many other SCCA professional venues. Over the years, they talked about joining forces to create a driver-development race team. They put together a Champ Car Atlantic team for the 2006 season to meet their objectives. In 2009, John Edwards won the Championship for NWR, beating teammate Jonathan Summerton in a tiebreaker.