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August 30, 2013 News
20 Questions: USF2000 Championship's Garett Grist
 

Andretti Autosport's Garett Grist (Photo: USF2000 Championship - John Hendrick)
Andretti Autosport's Garett Grist
(Photo: USF2000 Championship - John Hendrick)

As part of an on-going promotion of junior formula car racing in North America and around the world, eFormulaCarNews.com has introduced a segment entitled 20 Questions. The goal is to provide a little more insight of some the top junior formula car racers.

The latest installment features recent Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda race winner Garett Grist.


When and where did you start racing (karts or cars)?
I started racing karts at a local karting track when I was six. When I was 14, I started testing cars, but didn't race them until I was 16.

When did you decide that you were good enough, and wanted to race for a career?
I think after I broke the track record at Mosport in my first year of Formula Ford. It was previously held by both Conor Daly and Kyle Marcelli who are two great race car drivers, so that really made me believe in myself.

What was the first race you attended as a fan?
The U.S. Grand Prix Formula One at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway when I was eight. It was so cool to see the cars and hear the noise.

What is your favorite track?
I would have to say either Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course because of it's flowing corners, or Mosport because of the fast flat out corners, where you have to be brave and really trust your car.

What track have you never raced on, but really want to?
Road America. I always play it on racing games, but have never been to it. It looks like an incredible track, and I'm disappointed the USF2000 Championship didnít go to it this year.

What is the most challenging track, in your opinion, and why?
I think it's hard to pick just one. In my opinion street races in general are the most challenging tracks for me. Being a rookie in USF2000, it's my first year on street circuits, so I have a lot to learn about them.

What is the most challenging corner that youíve encountered?
I think it has to be corner 17 at Sebring. Being so bumpy and so fast, you have to position your car perfectly. It took a lot of work, but it ended up being one of my strengths there in the first round.

What race do you dream of winning?
The Indianapolis 500. I mean itís the Indy 500! I was there this year for the very first time. It was so incredible to see the fans and be part of the action.

What was the best race you've been part of?
Either the final race at the Walter Hayes Trophy last October at Silverstone in the pouring rain against some guys that had won the event before, or Sebring this year battling it out with the Neil [Alberico] and Scott [Hargrove] at the front of the field.

What is the best race car youíve ever driven?
The Formula BMW car prepared by Autotechinca. I tested when I was 14, and the car was very cool and a lot of fun to drive.

What is your dream race car to drive?
An IndyCar. I'm a big fan of the new DW12. Itís advanced, but not so advanced that the driver skill doesnít matter.

Do you have a pre-race ritual?
Not really, I usually just have a nap, but that's it. I donít get caught up in rituals or habits.

Have you ever hired a driver coach?
In karts I had a couple of tuners who were also great coaches. Last year, when I ran with Bryan Herta Autosports they brought in Anders Krohn to work with both Brandon [Newey] and I. It was my first year with a designated driver coach, and it was a great experience. Anders was amazing and I think it worked well because it was a team driven program and he worked with both us. And we had a blast.

Who is, or was, the most influential person in your racing career?
So many people have helped me in so many ways. My parents have always supported me, and my Aunt is behind me at every step. Derek Daly has been a big influence in how I think about racing. This year, Iíve had a chance to spend time with Michael Andretti, and he has taught me a lot.

What is the best piece of racing advice youíve ever received?
ďTry not to take off another front nose,Ē from Geoff Bushor, my engineer at Bryan Herta Autosport, after I broke a fourth one bump-drafting in the F1600 Formula F Championship Series.

Who was/is your favorite driver to compete against?
Brandon Newey is probably my favorite driver to compete against. We are such good friends off the track, and we were teammates last year at Bryan Herta Autosports. We can battle it out on the track and not let it effect things when we hang out off the track. Not many guys can do that.

If you could pick anyone and anywhere to race, who would you race, and where?
Sebastian Vettel in a Formula Ford at Mosport, so we can actually see how good he is, and how I stack up to him.

Who was/is your racing idol?
I think like most people it would be Ayrton Senna. He could drive the wheels off it. When you watch his on-board video from Monaco, and it is incredible. He was so committed and so passionate, and most importantly so connected to his team.

What was your best season in racing?
Either my first year in Rotax Junior karts, where I won the Canadian National Championships and went to Egypt for Team Canada, or the year I'm currently having with Andretti in USF2000. In both cases, I had great rookie campaigns and exceeded by goals.

What is your ultimate goal in racing?
To have a successful career in IndyCar. To be able to win an Indy 500 and maybe a championship. That would be a dream come true.

Learn more about Garett Grist at Andretti Autosport and on his Facebook page Garett Grist


More 20 Questions features HERE
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