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Grist hopes third time a charm for Pro Mazda series

Grimsby native plans to keep 2015 momentum rolling into springboard year

By Mike Williscraft
NewsNow

He’s been the Mazda Pro Series Rookie of the year.

He finished up the second half of the 2015 season with an eye-catching six poles, which came with three wins and four podiums.

16C_9711-LNow Grimsby native Garett Grist looks ahead to the coming 2016 with keen expectation and a plan to win it all.

“We want to do next year what we had a chance to do this year despite a slow start,” said Grist, who noted he would return to Juncos Racing again.

“I left Andretti Autosport for Juncos, a smaller outfit based in Indianapolis and its been great. The guys did a great job with the car. We had a lot of pace all year. I’m looking forward to a great year.”

While winning the Pro Mazda driving championship is his goal, he noted it was within his grasp this year if not for a disappointing ruling at the series stop in Lexington, Kentucky.

“I qualified first but they said I jumped the start so instead of the pole, I had to start 20th,” recalled Grist, who noted his car was the fastest all that week, posting the fastest lap consistently, and he ended up improving to a seventh place finish.

“If I had not been placed back I would have won the championship this year, so I still have something to prove next year.”

His sights have been set high and who could blame him when he had five of the last seven poles of the season, qualifying second in the other two races.

While he has been enjoying his off-season, he has been putting in his time in the gym with rowing and treadmill work while keeping an eye to putting on some weight as he starts to prepare for bigger, heavier cars.

“We’ve talked about it (a career plan). I am planning on competing in the Pro Mazda next year, then two years in Indy Lights, then I will be ready to step into Indy racing when I’m 24,” said Grist, noting the Juncas team had the Indy Lights driving champ in their stable this year.

His launch to that ambitious goal starts in St. Petersburg Florida in March.

That road to the driving championship goes through a Toronto stop July 15-17 where he won this year.

“That was pretty cool. There were even some people from Grimsby there. When I was up on the podium, I could hear them yelling, ‘Go Grimsby’,” recalled Grist.

Grist was the subject of a full feature in the July-August edition of ClubWest Magazine. To check that out go to our ClubWest website at http://www.clubwest.ca

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