Hunter McElrea says his crushing win in the latest Indy Pro 2000 race was the perfect bounce back after an irksome few months of battling car issues.
The Kiwi driver led from start to finish in the final race of the weekend at Mid-Ohio, claiming his second win of the season.
McElrea hadn’t stepped foot on the podium since round two at St Petersburg in April and had fallen into a slump of frustrating results the past few rounds.
Issues outside his control had hindered his pace, and he frequently finished outside the top five.
However, having identified and solved the dramas coming into Mid-Ohio, McElrea returned to his previous form and immediately rewarded the team with a stout weekend.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t down and frustrated after a tough couple of months,” McElrea told Velocity News.
“It was two months of disappointing results, which sucked.
“But I knew I had the package to win, and we brought a fresh mind for this weekend. You can’t keep bringing the bad weekends with you.
“So, to get pole and dominate on the weekend was special.”
McElrea says he knew his car was back to its former best as soon as the first free practice session, which he topped with the fastest time.
“We found the issue that was holding us back and rectified it for the weekend.
“Then, in the first practice, which was a wet-dry session, and we finished P1, I knew it was going to be a good weekend.
“To bounce back after so much bad luck was great.
“It is also cool to know that we go back to Mid-Ohio for the last two races. It is a track I gel with and seem to go well at.”
McElrea now hopes the Mid-Ohio win builds some momentum and kick starts a championship-winning run with three rounds remaining this season.
“In the middle of the year, we had a lot of bad luck. But in just one race, I cut the gap to second by about 20 points.
“With six races left, the leader has a bit of a lead. But I still want to win the championship.
“All we can do is win races and let the championship handle itself.
“Winning every race is a bit of a lofty goal, but if we can take one race at a time, then maybe we can go a run.
“I’ve been on runs before and there is no better time to go one than now.”