Dan the Man, was a man with a plan
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Dan the Man, was a man with a plan

Dan the Man, was a man with a plan.

Ah, summer in motorsports. The days are longer and the races are hotter.

With the Glen coming up in just a few short days, summer has officially begun in motorsports. Here at TPC Racing, our drivers don’t slow it down and go on vacation, they push harder and drive faster. With the new season, we’ve decided to start a new series of stories that focus on our drivers, crew, and staff.

As a fan, it’s easy to see drivers and teams as unapproachable. We’re here to let you know that we’re just regular people, living out our lives on social media and race broadcasts.

It was an easy choice to pick our first team member to highlight. After his first international podium at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Dan Hardee is going into Watkins with a big smile on his face. After all, he got a podium finish during an F1 event.

Things most people know about F1 events: they’re busy, there are lots of celebrities, and there is a lot of action on track. Things most people don’t know about F1 events: money can’t always buy you access to the F1 drivers and support series (like GT3 Cup) get very little time on track. GT3 Cup drivers only get one 40 minute practice session before they have to qualify. This little time makes it difficult for anyone to really prepare for a race.

Dan had already thought this through. Even during our pre-season test at Barber Motorsports Park, Dan knew he needed to find a way to get some seat time. For the first time in his life, Dan planned out something in advance. Dan the Man, was a man with a plan.

Dan’s plan was actually well thought out. He asked one of our team coaches, Mike Skeen, for some help putting together a simulator. Mike enlisted the help of long-time friend and tech nerd, Scott Barton, to put a system in place. Once all the computers and sim pieces came in, Dan got to work. It’s rumored that he once did 2 hours of laps, before realizing he didn’t have his CoolShirt hooked up. Apparently, sim time can really work up a sweat.

In all seriousness, Dan put in a lot of work to get ready for his F1 debut. He watched hours and hours of in-car video to memorize the track. After many days of staring at in-car video, Dan finally showered and ate a meal before calling his BFF and fellow TPC driver, Tom Kerr, to go to Cars and Coffee Palm Beach where they would debut their new Method Seven Sky Optics Sunglasses.

Once Tom was done wining and dining Dan at the early bird special, Dan hopped back on the simulator. Weeks passed and Dan finally felt comfortable with the track. He was even able to turn consistent lap times!

The true test of all of Dan’s practice came upon arriving in Canada. He was easily distracted by all the F1 shiny objects and thrilled to have his car on display at the F1 Fan Walk to start the weekend. He was over-the-moon excited to be at his first F1 event ever! Luckily, Zac Robichon, another one of TPC’s excellent team coaches, was able to pull Dan back down to earth during the track walk with the harsh reality of curbs, concrete barriers, and limited runoff that a temporary circuit offers.

All of the time and studying that Dan put in before the event really paid off. He was quickly able to get up to pace and qualified fourth. Race 1 went by fast, but Dan was able to get in the danger zone and finished 3rd, giving him his first real podium finish! With all the TPC drivers finishing in the top 10, Dan happily shared his champagne with the team. Team work makes the dream work!

Race 2 had Dan starting in 3rd. His Red Bull was in full effect that morning. Unfortunately for Dan, he didn’t see the banana peel that a fan had tossed onto the circuit in time causing a spin that took him out of contention for P2. Even without a second trophy, Dan left the track more excited than ever.

Dan now has all the plans and has been spending hours practicing on the sim. He’s looking forward to having the band back together and being a big data nerd with Mike Skeen.

Make sure to stop by the TPC Racing paddock if you’re at the Glen!

Dan would like to give a special thank you to Spencer Pumpelly, Mike Skeen and Zac Robichon for their coaching skills. Zac played a big part of Dan getting on the podium at Montreal. He would also like to thank TPC Racing for preparing and setting up his car perfectly for the event.

Thank you to all of Dan Hardee’s sponsors for their continued support:

Revolve Luxury Automobile Subscription Service
Apple Rush Sparkling Beverages
Lucas Oil Products
Cars and Coffee Palm Beach
Method Seven Eyewear
Hardee Family Foundation
DellaPorta Cosmetic Dentistry

*Disclosure: some of this may be a true story.

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