Exclusive NJMP Report
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (August 31, 2015) – Round 6 of the F1600 Formula F Championship brought a mixture of highs and lows for Exclusive Autosport as the team showcased its pace in practice but was left frustrated by this weekend’s triple-header racing at the New Jersey Motorsports Park, New Jersey, 28th-30th August.
Championship leader Scott Andrews once again led the Exclusive charge. The Australian was fastest in the weekend’s practice heading into Saturday’s opening race. The seven-time winner was again firmly in the hunt having started third on the grid. An attacking move for the lead however resulted in damage to his car. Despite this Andrews held on to take second at the checkered flag behind race winner Jordan Cane.
Canada’s Thomas McGregor was in the front-running mix with a solid performance taking fourth at the checkered but subsequently promoted to third following a penalty issued to Skylar Robinson. The Saskatoon racer made it three straight races on the podium beside Andrews following back-to-back 1-2 finishes the week before competing in F1600 in Canada.
Race 2 on Sunday was a more dramatic affair with Scott’s challenge ended after he was hit from behind on the back-stretch of the track. While the collision resulted in the guilty driver receiving a penalty, it was small consolation for Andrews who eventually battled back to finish 11th. McGregor’s race was consistent, the 23-year-old a mainstay in the top-five throughout the 15-lap sprint and taking fifth at the end.
The final F1600 race on Sunday afternoon brought more unwelcome drama for Andrews. Locked into an eight-car pack fighting for the lead, the Australian made a bold move to pass for position but contact under braking sent him into the tire barriers and into retirement. Thomas’ New Jersey visit ended with a third straight top-six finish, the former Formula Tour 1600 Pro-Class Champion wrapping up a credible weekend with a sixth place result.
In F2000 competition Trent Walko continues to demonstrate the strengths of the Spectrum F2000 package. The American teenager qualified on the front-row of the grid for both races, his New Jersey efforts mirroring an equally strong qualifying performance from Round 5 in Pittsburgh earlier in the month.
Race 1 saw Walko take the fight to eventual race winner and pole sitter Sam Beasley. Pushing his rival hard on-track, Trent passed for the lead but carried too much momentum into the next turn, running wide in the process and damaging both his chances and his race car. He headed to the pits out of the race.
Walko made a great start in Race 2 on Sunday but that would prove to be the highlight as an undisclosed issue brought the 18-year-old back to pit-lane just four laps into proceedings.
A second consecutive DNF didn’t do justice to Walko who has continued to shine in his rookie season in the category.
“Our weekend at New Jersey started off on a positive note, however ultimately it was a disappointing outing for the team,” reflected Exclusive Autosport Team Principal Michael Duncalfe. “We continue to be fast in F1600 and in F2000 and we’re confident that we’ll end the season on a positive note in October in Pittsburgh. Scott simply has to focus on his title chase while I know Thomas is perfectly capable of securing a win. Trent’s been a revelation in F2000, he’s come on strong over the last few outings and he’s challenging the veterans.”
F1600 Formula F Championship Series - Exclusive Autosport Driver Quotes:
Scott Andrews (@scottandrews44): #94 Exclusive Autosport / Exclusive Management Inc. / Automobility PTY Ltd / Andrews Automotive / Spectrum / Sparco / Honda Racing HPD
Race 1 Saturday 29th August – Qualified: 3rd / Finished: 2nd
Race 2 Sunday 30th August – Qualified: 2nd / Finished: 11th
Race 3 Sunday 30th August – Qualified: 7th / Finished: 15th (Retired - Damage)
Quote: “Our title assault started strong this weekend as we were quick in practice and finished on the podium in race one. Things certainly didn’t go to plan on Sunday. Unfortunately I was involved in a crash in both races, causing rear damage both times to my Exclusive Autosport Spectrum, effectively halving my points lead. I’m looking forward to picking up where we left off in Pittsburgh, we were strong there most of the weekend, and competing for wins as we have done all year. I’d like to thank the whole team for their huge efforts so far this season.”
Thomas McGregor (@TMacRacing): #93 Exclusive Autosport / Exclusive Management Inc. / Dairy Queen / Spectrum / Sparco / Honda Racing HPD
Race 1 Saturday 29th August – Qualified: 7th / Finished: 3rd
Race 2 Sunday 30th August – Qualified: 8th / Finished: 5th
Race 3 Sunday 30th August – Qualified: 5th / Finished: 6th
Quote: “Definitely one of my more consistent weekends. I had some great battles out there. It’s so competitive at the front of the series and it doesn’t take much to lose out on position. I was happy with how I raced and obviously pleased to secure another podium for myself and everyone at Exclusive. I’d love to repay everyone’s hard work and effort with a win next time out in Pittsburgh to wrap the season.”
F2000 Championship Series - Exclusive Autosport Driver Quote:
Trent Walko (@twalko91): #91 Exclusive Autosport / Spectrum / Zetec
Race 1 Saturday 29th August – Qualified: 2nd / Finished: DNF
Race 2 Sunday 30th August – Qualified: 2nd / Finished: DNF
Quote: “It feels good to be up at the front and battling for pole positions and wins now. I like to think I pushed Sam pretty hard here in New Jersey but unfortunately our results don’t reflect the progress we’ve made. I’m totally confident in our Spectrum F2000 package and hopefully people now see that we’re challenging week in week out.”
The seventh and final round of the SCCA sanctioned F1600 Formula F Championship Series and F2000 Championship Series is hosted at the Pittsburgh International Race Complex, Friday 16th to Sunday 18th October.