I think the issue is mostly mental / confidence. This is not my first time on the track but I'm a track noob.
Recently on a local track I was in a session mostly riding by myself. In the next session I was following a group and improved my lap time by 10 seconds. That is a big difference on a 2 mile track - don't you think???
The difference was the speed I was carrying through the corner. I think by having someone in front to chase I was able to "feel good" (?) about the speed and go faster.
Any ideas or constructive advice on what to do to be able to go faster without anyone in front of me? More track time is gonna help but what else would you focus on?
There are endless bits of advice and ideas that can make you faster and/or safer on the track. I'll just talk about one main idea here: Chasing rabbits.
That is a huge difference. I know that if I were able to keep up with folks 10 (or even 3) seconds faster than myself, I would be in way over my head. Right now, this may be possible because you are in the early stage of your learning curve, and there may be some low hanging fruit.
But if you are feeling good when chasing the rabbits, I would try to leverage that. Get used to the feel of the speed. Though it can get you faster quickly if you feel OK with it, know that your own skills do not match those of the riders you are following. Knowing that, you have to respect that you are not ready to handle situations that come up at that speed.
I suggest that you leave some following distance and don't be hugging anyone's butt. The only time you should be just a bike length behind someone is when you are just about to pull a pass. It's not a spot you want to stay in for long, because it's dangerous. It is very hard to avoid a crashing bike when you are that close. If you leave a few bike lengths or more, they will tend to slide out of the way by the time you get there.
You should ultimately be able to go just as fast all by yourself if you want to be safe at a given speed. You will need to be able to make your own judgements for setting speed, braking zones, how much room you need to pass someone, etc. Chasing others is a great way to find places to improve though. I'm not saying you should avoid it, just that you need to know when its time to ride your own ride.
One problem with rabbits is that you have to trust them. You need to be able to tell if someone is riding easily within their own capabilities, or is just about to crash because they are in over their heads. It is best to know who it is you are following, and know that they are not regular crashers. If you are riding behind a reliable rider, there is not as much danger of them doing something stupid that puts them down.
If they crash, and you are not very experienced, you can follow them right off the track and crash too. Even experienced track riders sometimes do this. Target fixation kicks in. You go where you look, so you need to be able to look past them immediately as you see their situation begin to unfold.