Auriemma Wins F1600 Saturday Race at VIR
Alton, VA - Ben Auriemma hoisted the first place trophy following a competitive 12-lap F1600 Championship Series race at VIR after officials penalized Scott Andrews for passing under a local caution. Auriemma marks his first win of the season ahead of Pelfrey teammate Andrew Hobbs, with Thomas McGregor finishing third for Exclusive Autosport.
“I thought I was second and I was happy with that, I have no idea what happened after that. I’m stoked though. I couldn’t be happier,” said Auriemma, of Manhasset, New York. “I did see the yellow, I backed off. I thought it was full course caution and it wasn’t, and then we got to another local yellow, I’m not sure what happened.”
Hobbs made it a Pelfrey one-two after starting from the first position on the run to the green flag but fell back to 11th after the completion of the first race lap.
“That was one heck of a race,” said Hobbs. “I completely messed up turn 10 on the first lap and thought we were done. I drove as hard as I could and here we are one-two.”
McGregor put in a well-calculated drive for the final podium spot while teammate Andrews settled for fourth after his penalty by race officials.
Andrews appeared to have the win, crossing the line first for a third straight victory and seventh straight podium on the year for Exclusive, with a penalty coming down moments after the finish. Andrews keeps his points lead with what is for him, his worst finish of the season.
Skylar Robinson rounded out the top five in a frantic-race, and the No. 12 from K-Hill was a fixture at the front of the field in a six-car lead group.
In his Series debut, and his team's debut, Michai Stephens was sixth for JAY Motorsports, beating out Masters Class victor Mike Scanlan in his No. 2 Spectrum/Honda.
Andy Lewis was eighth, just ahead of Art Foster, second in Masters, and Lewis Cooper, who completed the Masters Class podium in the No. 0 Polestar machine.
Steve Bamford won at VIR in 2014 and will be looking for redemption, as a late race restart shuffled the No. 07 from fifth back, with Bamford finishing 12th.
Contender Austin Mack was sidelined during qualifying with a car issue on his No. 44. His K-Hill Motorsports team elected to switch equipment, taking over the No. 70 Spectrum/Honda normally driven by Sam Lockwood. It wouldn’t be a banner day for the Watkins Glen winner, however, as Mack finished 14th.
Robert Megennis was 15th, and spun while battling in the lead group, finishing a lap down after getting his car restarted and visiting the pits.
Will Harvey had his race interrupted with an unscheduled visit to pit road, demoting him to a 16th place finishing position.
Masters Class competitor Jim Goughary showed well early before retiring after running as high as third place. The DNF was due to mechanical problems.
Jordan Cane didn’t have a great debut either in his first points-paying F1600 start, as he ended his race on lap two in the turn three tire barrier.
Full results are available on www.F1600Series.com under the results tab. Results remain provisional and some incidents remain under review by race officials.
Sunday gets even more exciting at VIR as F1600 will close out its triple-header format weekend with rounds eight and nine of the season.