It was the third event weekend of the 2023 Blue Marble Radical Cup North America program and Austin Riley traveled all the way to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Taking on the 4.048-mile, 14-turn Road America, Riley hit the track Thursday before three wheel-to-wheel races as the Racing With Autism driver shared the track with the NTT INDYCAR SERIES competitors.
With several issues during Thursday’s test sessions, a wide array of items hindered speed on track as well as changes to increase speed while in the paddock. With data and video issues throughout the day, reviewing on-track sessions and making the necessary changes were impossible as Riley shifted his focus to qualifying and the first wheel-to-wheel race Friday.
After qualifying was in the books, it was time for Riley to push his way to the front of the Pro 1500 class. With 36 Radical Cup racers taking the green flag, Riley overcame the first-corner melee. Progressing forward and scoring his fastest lap of the weekend, Riley was able to cross the line sixth in class and eleventh overall. Returning to the track Saturday, it was a chaotic race two as Austin battled at the front of the field and battled with the leaders until an early yellow halted any progress. On the restart, a lockup into turn five forced Riley wide where he lost several positions before the caution flag flew again. Regrouping and looking to move back forward, a few positions were gained before the caution flew again. With no flow to the race and a lot of caution laps, Riley crossed the line seventh in class.
Finishing the weekend on Sunday, Austin Riley and the rest of the Radical Cup racers competed in their third and final race of the weekend following the INDYCAR main event. With lap times from race two setting the grid for race three, Riley started the third race from second in class. A great chance to earn his first podium result of the season, Austin had a great start and maintained his position on the opening lap. A caution bunched the field up for the first time in race three and on the restart, Austin battled for positions but fell back to fourth before the caution flew yet again. Losing two more positions during the pit sequence, Austin pushed incredibly hard for the last half of the race and eventually made a pass for third but was unable to make it stick. Drifting wide and falling to fourth, Austin earned his best result of the weekend and gained some momentum toward his hometown event in Toronto next month. With a post-race penalty to a fellow competitor, Riley was elevated to P3 on the results sheet, earning his first podium result of the 2023 season.
With Road America now complete, Austin will look toward the next event weekend in Canada as he competes alongside the NTT INDYCAR SERIES on the Streets of Toronto.
Racing With Autism and Austin Riley would like to thank their partners and supporters. A huge thank you to Spark Power Corp., Lincoln Electric, ACL Bearing, Hagerty, Ady’s Army, Hammond Manufacturing, Cal Chip Connected, 6 Sigma Sim Racing, B2C Transport, Forest Contractors, Utech Electronics, Braidan Motorsport as well as all family, friends, and supporters.
Austin Riley is a multi-time champion, the first race car driver with autism to win a major championship, and above all, an inspiration for all who’ve met him. His motto, “Just because you have autism, it doesn’t mean you can’t do great things,” is backed by his success both on and off the track.
For more information on Austin Riley, please contact RTD Media & Management at 317.270.8723 or via email to Mike@RTD-Media.com.
Photos: RTD Media