The streets of St Petersburg were like nothing Billy Frazer had experienced before.
But the young Kiwi relished his latest challenge and put in his best USF2000 performance to date over the weekend.
Frazer finished fourth and 12th in the two races at the Florida circuit.
He now sits eighth in the overall championship and is the second highest-placed rookie.
Street circuits were an entirely foreign concept to Frazer before the weekend. Despite spending time on his simulator back in his Indianapolis apartment, he says nothing prepared him for the actual test that was at hand.
Still, Frazer put in his most complete performance of the year to finish race one as the best-placed rookie and a whisker away from the podium.
Catching up with Velocity News after the result, he says St Petersburg was the most demanding race meeting he had ever done.
But he believes he is now in a position where he can establish himself as a regular front-runner.
“It was the most intense weekend of racing I have ever done,” Frazer said. “I had one 30-minute practice before two qualifying sessions on the same day.
“Plus, there was a red flag in just about every session. So, I only did about six laps during practice before I had to qualify, and I still hadn’t fully learnt the track.
“But street racing is awesome. The walls were the biggest thing for me, as they were something I had never experienced before.
“To maximise your lap time, you have to get right up and close with the wall. At first, I was a bit hesitant, but I soon got more confident and was able to push harder.
“The car actually changes note as you get closer to the wall and the whole thing is just incredible.”
Frazer had qualified eighth for race one, which was littered with accidents and consequent caution periods.
However, the Pukekohe teenager says the numerous safety car interventions gave him the best opportunity to make up ground at a circuit where overtaking has proven to be difficult.
“Every one of my restarts was almost perfect,” he said.
“I was picking off a few cars each time and was up to third for a while.
“Then Kiko [Porto] did a great move to get past me, which dropped me to fourth.
“But I was expecting it, and he ran wide on the exit. So, I was preparing for the cross-back move before Yuven [Sundaramoorthy] got us both.
“I hung in there to try and fight Yuven back, but just couldn’t get past.”
Race two saw Frazer make up for a disappointing qualifying to come from 18th to 12th.
Still, he says his execution of overtakes during the weekend and a newly found trust in the car means he is feeling a lot more confident.
“I am so proud of my performance at St Pete. It is the first time I have experienced racing up the front this year.
“I made 11 overtakes at one of the most challenging circuits to pass at. Now that I have been able to race at the front and overtake, I have a lot more confidence in my racing ability.”
Next on the schedule for Frazer is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, with the youngster already aiming for big results.
“St Pete proved I have come a long way in short time,” he said. “So, now is the time to make some more improvements and push for another great weekend.”