Alton, VA – 2012 F1600 Formula F Championship Series runner-up Brandon Newey returned to form during Friday practice at VIRginia International Raceway, vaulting to the top of the afternoon time sheets in the No. 29 for Chastain Motorsports. Newey won at VIR in 2012 and has since moved up the racing ladder, returning to F1600 competition for a one-off weekend in Chastain’s second Mygale/Honda.
“It was a good session, it’s good to come out here with these guys and Chastain Motorsports,” said Newey. “We didn’t get to draft much with Sam (Chastain) but we should be up there in the race.”
Newey is referring to teammate Sam Chastain who sat out the afternoon session with a mechanical problem after losing his brakes in the morning session. The No. 27 of Chastain has been quick all season as he continues to look for his first podium and will be ready to roll for early morning qualifying on Saturday.
Second and third on the timesheets were Nikita Lastochkin and Ayla Agren in a pair of Team Pelfrey Mygale/Hondas – both drivers are still searching for the top step of the podium in F1600 competition. The two make it an international top three mix – with Newey from the United States, Lastochkin from Russia and Agren from Norway.
Championship leader and first of the Masters Class competitors Jim Goughary has just two tenths behind him for Ski Motorsports in fourth, coming off two wins in four races to start the season. Steve Bamford completed the top five, just about a full second off Newey’s impressive lap.
In practice for rounds five and six of racing at VIR for the F1600 Series, the second 30-minute all-green flag practice had Pelfrey teammates Augie Lerch and Garth Rickards in sixth and eighth, split between a fast showing from Austin McCusker in seventh in a Van Diemen/Honda for Dotworks Racing. Art Foster and Andrew Hobbs completed the top ten, Foster in a Spectrum and Hobbs in a Mygale for WISKO Racing.
With new pavement at VIR, all eyes were on lap times, and on a scorching hot afternoon race track, Newey was some two seconds under the existing qualifying track record with his lap of 1:57.564.
Looking in on the top ten was Jack Mitchell Jr., another Championship contender, with the 11th fastest time. Mitchell has put together solid races this year with a best finish of second place in the Exclusive Autosport Spectrum/Honda, and has the added benefit of Spectrum chassis designer Michael Borland under his awning this weekend.
Saturday June 7 sees an 8:30am qualifying followed by 1:00pm race start, while Sunday gets an 9:00am qualifying session and 1:05pm race start with the latest updates on www.f1600series.com.