WORDS BY ADAM DICKINSON | IMAGES COURTESY OF ADAM SEDGWICK
Alex Sedgwick was hooked on NASCAR from the first race he watched from his Warwickshire home, while he was still karting.
It was a series like no other for him, and ever since, he's been pursuing his dream to take part in the championship.
And his hard work paid off in January 2021 when he managed to get himself a pre-season test at Daytona.
Despite the COVID pandemic adding another massive hurdle to a list that included finding sponsors, making a name for himself on a new continent and adapting to a car that most of his competition have grown up with, he was confident that opportunities would present themselves before the end 2021.
And though it didn’t really work out like that, it’s certainly not been a year to forget for the soft-spoken 23-year-old.
For avid readers of The Pit Stop, you'll probably recognise Sedgwick's story. He featured in Issue 3 as we examined the progress he had made in his career up until April 2021.
12 months we spoke to him again to get an update and it turned out he’d even one-upped his Daytona humble brag from last year. He Zoomed in to talk from a hotel in Philadelphia straight off the back of a Porsche 991 test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
He’s in action in the North American Carrera Cup this Labor Day weekend at the Brickyard, but after stepping into French F4, ARCA Menards and Euro NASCAR with barely a seat test in preparation, even getting a test was a luxury.
“It was very strange to have two days of testing,” he said. “A nice stack of new tyres and actually have time to learn stuff and develop a setup and go through all these things.
“Rather than just does the seat fit, go out and qualify.”
And there’s no doubting Sedgwick’s intentions with this opportunity. Top of the test by a ‘decent margin’, when asked where he’s aiming for this weekend’s racing he simply points a single finger to the top of the screen. Message received Alex, enough said.
Though the Daytona test gave him reasons for optimism to kick off 2021, he’s only managed two rounds of Euro NASCAR since.
It’s a familiar story echoed by all but a very few drivers at the moment, with the financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic being felt more keenly than ever.
He added: “There was lots of irons in the fire and things were looking pretty promising. Obviously just with how the world's been and obviously people being fairly hesitant to spend money, it didn't quite progress from there as planned.
“I had quite a few pretty awesome opportunities in ARCA, Xfinity or some form of NASCAR stuff and probably up to four serious partners who were looking at doing something.
“But just to this point we haven't been able to make it work in terms of either being able to put something together that's going to generate the return they want or they purely just had the budget and now don't have the budget because of how everything in the world is.”
However, even in discussing these opportunities, he’s shown a maturity indicative of long months spent on the sideline economising every chance to advance his career.
“To do something just to go racing didn't seem like a good decision,” he states. “If it's not going to lead to something it's just probably going to be a bit of a set fire to some money and have some fun but not really progress to anything.”
That all meant that racing took a back seat until the right chance popped up, but that doesn’t mean it’s been a wasted 18 months for Sedgwick.
He’s continued working with Vertex, the corporate racing events company he joint-owns with a friend, and taken on a new role running tours for a luxury European road trip provider.
Not that it’s been a life of hardship - he sums it up as ‘playing with supercars, staying in nice hotels and a yacht at the Monaco Grand Prix’ - but that work also turned out to be crucial getting him on track in the Carrera Cup.
He’s racing with PT Autosport, a connection that came about through one of his clients on a tour. But in itself, that provides the perfect microcosm of how perseverance pays off.
“The big thing is just keeping that optimism and I think most people in racing, you have this self-punishment of you get your hopes up about something, something amazing happens, [then] everything falls apart. Someone rational should probably be like 'maybe you should try something else now’.
“But you have that little thing inside you going 'as soon as you quit what if the opportunity came the day after'? So you can't completely pull yourself away.”
And things are looking up once again for Sedgwick’s future. He can’t reveal anything yet, but promises whatever he’s doing next season he’ll be staying in the US, and stresses how staying around US paddocks should lead to more opportunities coming up.
Warwickshire, Daytona, Indianapolis. It’s been quite a journey so far, but it looks like for Alex Sedgwick, the best is yet to come.
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