By Christopher DeHarde, Staff Writer
ELKHART LAKE, WI — Toby Sowery had one weekend of experience in the Mazda Road to Indy last year at Barber Motorsports Park and on his debut weekend in the Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires, the Brit posted two second place finishes in both races at Road America.
With an off weekend from his day job racing International GT Open, Sowery took an opportunity to race with BN Racing following an opening in their Pro Mazda team.
“I had the [USF2000] race in Barber last year and enjoyed it quite a bit,” said Sowery. “So I’d always had an idea of if the opportunity came about I’d take it but it’s been a long couple of weeks just trying to get everything right and everything ready for the weekend.”
Sowery raced for Team Benik and scored a fifth in the second race of the weekend. That weekend turned Sowery onto the idea of racing more in North America and when afforded the opportunity, he took it.
The No. 78 BN Racing machine started fourth and once second place was his, Sowery’s goal was to just try to keep teammate and race winner David Malukas in his sights.
“David did a very good job,” said Sowery. “We were yo-yoing quite a bit so one lap he’d be quicker, one lap I’d be so it was quite frustrating in that respect but the first lap was exciting, got up into second, made a mistake, locked up, went wide, dropped back down to third and then got second again.
“So it was a good first lap but then the rest of the race was calm. Not boring, but calm. Trying to just catch David and match him, obviously he’s been very quick all weekend so it was going to be tough anyway but it’s been quite a calm race.”
Sowery went into Saturday’s race starting a bit further back in sixth but ended up in second place after four laps. However, this race was anything but calm.
“There was so much going on,” said Sowery. “There was cars behind, in front, left, right, it was like NASCAR when they’re going down the straight boxed in but it was an exciting first lap. I’m surprised that everyone made it through because we were so close. I thought I was going to go into the back of one of the Juncos cars and it was a really really exciting first lap.”
After getting into second place, Saturday’s race mirrored Friday’s as the two BN Racing cars were within a couple of seconds of each other but not close enough to offer any overtaking opportunities.
In conversation, Sowery spoke very highly about racing in the U.S. but knows his day job comes first.
“I’d like to do some more racing but I’ve already got my Lamborghini program back home which I’m very committed to, very happy,” Sowery said. “But as I said, there’s no reason I won’t come back. I won’t necessarily go back to USF2000, been there, done that and I feel that it would be a big back step but Pro Mazda, Indy Lights, if the opportunity ever comes around I’d be more than happy to.
“I mean, everyone here’s really really friendly, very very grateful and supportive of you so you know it’s a nice place to be and a nice place to race so I definitely would come back if the opportunity came around.”