Growing up, Devin Wojcik always liked to go fast when he was on his bike. So when a family friend asked whether he wanted to race go-karts, it seemed like a good idea.
“We didn’t know what it was, or anything as nobody in my family has ever raced. So we went and checked it out,” Wojcik told POPULAR SPEED. “Basically, after that, I was hooked in go-karting.”
The success came quickly for the Fayetteville, New York native; in his rookie season, he got first place in both Cherry Valley Motorsports Club’s Summer Series and Fall Series at the Notice level. Moving up to Yamaha Jr a year later, he once again impressed with a second in the summer, and a first in the fall.
The success would continue, eventually pushing Wojcik towards the Skip Barber School, where he took part in the Karts to Car Shootout, finishing sixth.
“I did the Skip Barber Shootout, and I wasn’t able to win it, unfortunately, but my parents saw I was good,” he said. “So they made the decision to finance the winter series and the summer series this year for me to me to drive.”
He was once again able to have success, finishing third in the Winter Series, followed by a fifth in the Summer Series this year.
The ability to continue to do well at each level has paid off for the 16-year-old as he will race in USF2000, the first step in the Mazda Road to Indy, next year for ArmsUp Motorsports.
“It’s a really great opportunity,” Wojcik said. “I’m excited, can’t wait. I’ve had some experience with them, including our race last year with them. Really looking forward to next season.”
ArmsUp is known for success in the series as they finished third in points last year with Victor Franzoni. While those results may have produced pressure, Wojcik notes it’s been relieved through conversations with ArmsUp Team Owner Gregg Borland.
“He’s definitely excited, and I don’t think he’s putting any pressure on me at all, so I feel really relaxed about this season,” Wojcik said. “It’s less stressful, and more looking forward to seeing what we can do.”
He has already been able to get his feet wet in competition, running both races as part of the Road America weekend last season. He also took part in the Chris Griffis Memorial Test at Indianapolis, which allowed him to get his first chance behind the wheel of the brand new Tatuus USF-17 chassis.
After years with the previous chassis, Tatuus released a brand new chassis for teams to use in 2017 and beyond, which features a slew of updates to make the cars closer to those of the higher levels of MRTI and IndyCar.
“The big thing doing the test was obviously getting a baseline early in the year, so we have more time to work on the car,” he said. “That test was fairly recent after we got the new car, so teams didn’t have a lot of time to prepare. ArmsUp did a great job getting ready – a week or so – so we could get go testing. That was important as not so much seeing how we are compared to other people, but dialing in the car.”
Entering as a rookie with a new car, Wojcik notes the initial goals of the team are to try and get tuned up fast and to his liking as quickly as possible.
“All the other teams are in the same spot so basically the goal is to make the new car fast, as fast as we can,” he said. “Obviously I’m a rookie coming into the year so it wouldn’t be the easiest thing to win the championship, but obviously we want to try.”
While the new car poses a challenge to the team, Wojcik says the biggest challenge personally will be the amount of competitors ranging from 20 to 30 cars, versus the smaller fields of the Skip Barber School.
“That’s something to get used to,” he said. “I had a hint of it at Road America in the summer. It went well, so I think I’ll be able to handle it, but we’ll see in the spring.”
If he can perform throughout the season and take home the championship, he knows the opportunity it brings with it – a scholarship to allow him to run Pro Mazda in 2018 full-time. It’s a goal all drivers strive for, knowing if they can make it each step up the ladder, they could reach IndyCar one day.
“The Mazda Road to Indy is a great program, one of the best programs,” Wojcik said. “It takes driver all the way from the initial step up to IndyCar – Indy Lights Champion getting a seat in the Indy 500. It’s a nice progression, and with the new overhaul of the cars, it’s basically all brand new cars with new technology, so it’s training kids for what they’ll see at the highest level of motorsports.”
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