Competing at his home event and the first time on the Streets of Toronto, Canadian Austin Riley walked away with three top-five results, including two podium finishes, in the Blue Marble Radical Cup North America program. Taking on the 1.786-mile, 11-turn temporary circuit, Riley overcame adverse weather conditions to have his best weekend in the Pro 1500 ranks to date.
With one practice session on Friday morning, it was straight into qualifying that afternoon where Riley slotted into the fourth position, just one spot behind his RySpec Racing teammate. Shifting his focus to the wheel-to-wheel competition that would follow on Saturday and Sunday, it would be a jam-packed event weekend alongside the NTT INDYCAR Series.
Arriving at the track Saturday morning and with the weather threatening, rain fell just before the start of the first race of the weekend which posed a challenge for drivers, but a bigger challenge for Austin. With anxiety high, the team was able to convince Austin to get out there and do his best. Crossing the line fifth in class and ninth overall overcoming several caution periods, restarts, and tricky conditions, Austin turned the second fastest lap in the Pro 1500 class which awarded him a front-row starting spot for race two on the weekend Saturday afternoon.
With momentum from race one, Riley entered race two with high hopes, but the challenge would become difficult at the initial race start. Falling down the running order due to a slow start from the driver in front of him, Austin was in the wrong place at the wrong time as he entered the first corner on the outside of a five-driver-wide scenario. With the hopes of a podium all but gone, Riley put his head down as he began to make good of a bad situation. Passing a few cars before the caution flag flew, the green flag would fly with 11 minutes remaining as Riley was just inside the top-ten. Driving like a man possessed, the young Canadian rocketed his way through the order to P3 and celebrated on the podium with a third-place result at his home event.
With rain falling overnight, a damp but drying track greeted Radical competitors on Sunday morning as a tire choice to go to either slicks or wets was quickly becoming apparent. Taking the safe choice to start on the wet weather Hankook Tires, Riley was able to keep his car off the barriers and out of trouble as he battled hard in the latter stages of the race to finish third, his second podium result of the weekend.
“Great weekend in Toronto, my hometown race,” explained Austin Riley. “The support this weekend has been overwhelming, and it is an honor to be able to race at this track, at this event. Thank you to everyone who has helped make this possible.”
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