During this last many months I have talked with many friends and race teams who have been forced with making the same decision that I have had to come to terms with this weekend; which is having to withdraw from this years Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. For many it has been the down-turned economy or loss of jobs or simply wondering if they will have a job or even a home in the near future while for others it's simply the "what if" fears that accompany all of the above.
In my case my decision is a result of the fact that someone who promised to sponsor this event did not live up to their commitment. Do I have regrets? Of course I do but on the other hand I am at piece with my decision. Over the years I have watched other friends and teams who spent lots of money they shouldn't have to support their addiction to racing. In doing so some of them lost their homes, divided their families or ruined their already struggling business. Just today a good friend told me one of his teammate's company got downsized last month so their plans for attending this years LCP are on hold for now. In the long run it's teams and drivers who don't use the proper discretion while determining what's right or wrong or not being careful in making the correct decision too many times the results have been catastrophic.
Getting so close and yet having to make this decision hurts but what bothers me the most is the unbelievable efforts put forth by the individuals who spent so much money, time and effort helping me to get ready. First of all I want to thank Roger Kraus Racing who sponsored multiple sets of tires for this event. I simply can not believe how much of an effort Roger spent on this project and it says so much about what an awesome guy he is. He spent days and hours researching exactly what tire would best serve me and how they would be grooved and I can't believe how many phone calls and tire manufactures he corresponded back and forth with. Simply unreal. I would also like to thank my manager Anthony Trayer and crew who last week after finding out that I had decided not to attend this years PPIHC and knowing how much this meant to me simply refused to give up trying.
EDIT: Since I wrote this Roger Kraus called to tell me he will still be sending me several sets of tires so not only will I have my tries sponsored but I will also be able to try various sets out before next years PPIHC. What a gentleman. THANKS ROGER!
Both of which spent the entire week relentlessly making calls, to business's and friends in a all out effort to raise the needed sponsorship funds. While they did come up with some potential sponsors I was left knowing time is of the essence. So after a long and difficult thought process as to what is right and wrong I have realized it is better to not go on a "last minute decision". Hopefully there is always next year. In the mean time I would like to wish everyone else good luck and a very safe event.