Watkins Glen, New York (May 23, 2016) – Between frigid temperatures and changing track conditions at Watkins Glen international, including snow on Sunday morning, setup was a full-on guessing game for Exclusive Autosport and its drivers in last weekend’s F1600 Formula F and F2000 Championship Series races.
The North American Spectrum factory team had three racers in its stable last weekend. Ben Auriemma (No. 92) and Will Harvey (No. 90) returned to carry on the team’s F1600 Formula F effort after starting the season at Road Atlanta in April. In the F2000 Championship, Jayson Clunie was back in the cockpit of the No. 93 machine for the second time in 2016.
Saturday’s races in both categories were tough nuts to crack due to the ever-changing weather. In F2000, Clunie qualified 13th on day 1. He had a spectacular start, putting himself into the top 10 by the end of the first lap. As conditions got worse, Clunie got better. He made up even more ground before a downpour began and brought the race to an early end. By staying out of trouble and letting others get caught out, Clunie climbed to a 2nd place finish to score his first podium result ever in the series. Combined with an 8th place finish on Sunday, the weekend was a success for the No. 93 car.
“Jason did phenomenally for us,” commented team owner Michael Duncalfe. “He has four top 10 finishes in as many starts in the F2000 Championship Series. He is currently fourth overall in the championship standings and second in the Masters Class. Unfortunately, this is his last outing for a while as he turns his attention to other commitments. We are hopeful we can get him back in the car before the end of the year. We’re absolutely thrilled with how he did.”
In F1600 Formula F, Saturday’s race could have been just as successful if not for an unfortunate turn of luck. Questionable conditions just before the start forced the team to decide between wet-weather tires or slicks. With a wet track and rain in the forecast, the decision was made to go on wet tires. It worked well at first, putting Auriemma and Harvey into 1st and 3rd respectively in the early running.
Part way through the race, however, the clouds parted, the sun began to shine, and the track dried rapidly, swinging the advantage in favour of the teams that gambled on starting with slicks. Auriemma finished race 1 in 5th and Harvey in 7th.
Sunday’s weather was even worse with snow falling at Watkins Glen in the morning and temperatures hovering around 5 degrees Celsius. Both drivers kept their heads about them despite the trying conditions to score four more top 10 finishes in the final two races of the weekend.
“It was an up-and-down weekend for us,” Duncalfe says. “It could have gone either way, and how this weekend went wasn’t our way. We’re due for some good luck, so we’ll come back stronger in our next outing.”
Exclusive Autosport’s next scheduled event is in the team’s home country of Canada as the Quebec Formula Tour 1600 season gets under way on May 27th to 29th at Circuit Mont-Tremblant. The F1600 Formula F and F2000 Championship Series seasons continue on the following weekend, June 3rd to 5th, at Virginia International Raceway.
Exclusive Autosport F1600 Formula F Championship Series Watkins Glen results:
Ben Auriemma (No. 92 ACG Motorsports/Exclusive Autosport/Spectrum/Honda)
Race 1: 5th / Race 2: 6th / Race 3: 8th
"Watkins Glen was a tough weekend for all, with tons of new variables thrown into the mix. We overcame a lot, and I really feel that it's brought us closer than ever as a team. I look forward to continuing to grow together in races to come."
Will Harvey (No. 90 Marlin Oil Corporation /Oklahoma Heart Hospital/Cystic Fibrosis Foundation/Exclusive Autosport/Spectrum/Honda)
Race 1: 7th / Race 2: 7th / Race 3: 6th
“We fought through some adversity early in the weekend to bring home a trio of consistent finishes. There's still some work to do before the next race, but it's nothing that Exclusive Autosport can't figure out.”
Exclusive Autosport F2000 Championship Series Watkins Glen results:
Jayson Clunie (No. 93 Exclusive Autosport/Spectrum)
Race 1: 2nd / Race 2: 8th
“As always, Exclusive Autosport had excellent cars and an excellent team for the weekend. It was a bit of a challenge with changing weather conditions and limited track time, but everyone worked together. I am pretty pleased with two top ten finishes. I feel I could have found that last bit in the dry if we had a bit more track time. I’m thankful again to Michael Duncalfe for the opportunities he puts in front of me. I am really proud to be a part of this team.”