Hunter McElrea is most proud of developing a growth mindset this Indy Pro 2000 season after a dismal middle portion of the year.
After claiming two P2s and a win over the weekend in New Jersey, McElrea has scored five consecutive podium finishes.
He has vaulted himself into a competitive championship position and mathematically can clinch the title with two races remaining.
His performances over the past few rounds largely reflect those from the start of the season.
McElrea finished in the top four three times in the first four races of the year.
However, issues outside of his control quickly turned his season on its head. Soon, McElrea was struggling to unlock speed.
He slipped into a period of lowly results, and his championship ambition was rapidly losing traction.
Yet, the past few race weekends have seen McElrea rediscover his competitive edge. His spirits have also noticeably lifted.
“I have learnt a lot of lessons this year,” McElrea told Velocity News.
“I think I am most proud about how I have managed to comeback from rock bottom into the position I am now. I have gotten mentally stronger.”
Last weekend in New Jersey was unquestionably the Kiwi’s strongest of the year.
Despite settling for second in the first two races, McElrea punished his opposition in the final race to win by 12.5 seconds.
“I am pretty stoked considering how the season has been. To come back and dominate like that was awesome.
“I was a bit dirty only getting P2 the first day. I knew the next day I could get pole and the win.
“Getting double pole in the wet was awesome. But I don’t think I pushed hard enough in race two.
“It wasn’t until later in the race when I realised how hard I could push.
“But I knew I could win race three with pace I had. It is good to be back winning.”
A key factor to his recent success is looking forward.
“I wasn’t thinking too much at all about the past.”
McElrea is 45 points behind championship leader Christian Rasmussen.
Drivers receives 45 points for winning a race, plus additional points for getting pole, achieving the fastest lap and leading the most laps during the race.
With two races left this year, it means there is a maximum of 96 points available to McElrea.
He is aware he is still in contention for the series title. But his mentality heading into the weekend is to win races first, then think about the championship.
“All I care about now is wins.
“All I can do is focus on myself. So, I will go back to Mid-Ohio, which is great because I have won there before, and try and get the two race wins.”
The season finale at Mid-Ohio is on October 1-3.