F1600, F2000 and Atlantic VIR Preview
Salem, NH – June 3-5 will see Virginia International Raceway, known to the world as VIR, host a full weekend of racing action for the F1600, F2000 and Atlantic Championship Series. F1600 will see a traditional triple-race weekend format, while F2000 and Atlantic will each have two races.
The F1600 Formula F Championship Series has a new points leader heading into VIR in Team Pelfrey’s Phillippe Denes, with the driver taking two thrilling victories at Watkins Glen in May.
Denes’ teammate Ming took the other available win at the Glen, and Pelfrey expands to thee cars, welcoming the addition of Kaylen Frederick in a third car. Frederick was fast in winter exhibition races in Florida and will see out the season in the No. 80 Mygale/Honda.
With a win at Road Atlanta and three strong finishes at Watkins Glen, Neil Verhagen sits second in points for K-Hill Motorsports, while Steve Bamford lost the points lead in Watkins Glen, and is fourth in the Championship behind Ming. Bamford is the highest ranked of the Masters Class drivers.
K-Hill’s Peter Portante started the season with a win at Road Atlanta, but a suspension failure at Waktins Glen limited his pace in race two in the No. 24 Mygale/Honda.
Max Mallinen, who won round three of the season, will look to return to form in Virginia in the No. 10 Swan Motorsports Spectrum/Honda. Fellow Spectrum drivers Ben Auriemma, Trenton Estep and Will Harvey, from Exclusive Autosport, continue to hunt for their first wins.
In addition, the entry lists sees the likes of Hans Ada, for K-Hill, along with Dexter Czuba and Ryan Bjerke at Bjerke Motorsports. After battling at Watkins Glen, Joel Haas and Mike Scanlan, both Masters Class veterans, look to continue their seasons in Virginia.
Steve Bamford leads the point standings in F2000 after four rounds in 2016, three of which he has taken home first place honors in. The driver of the No. 07 Rice Race Prep Citation has yet to win in F2000 at VIR, but his two F1600 victories have both come at the 17-turn road course.
Making their 2016 Series debuts this weekend will be Devin Lesuer and Connor Gawry, along with veteran and former Masters Class title-winner Tom Fatur.
Watkins Glen podium finishers Jayson Clunie and Robert Wright are hoping to take home more hardware, as is Dave Weitzenhof, who started on the pole at Watkins Glen and is quickly picking up pace as the season goes on.
Others drivers heading for Virginia include Brandon Dixon, Bob Reid and Peter Gonzalez, rounding out a diverse field.
While Ryan Norman has won three of four Atlantic Championship Series races in 2016 for K-Hill Motorsports, the big news is the return of 2012 Atlantic Champion David Grant.
Grant has temporarily stepped aside from F2000 and is back in an Atlantic car, the No. 29 Swift 016/Mazda from Polestar, where he will look not only to track down Norman, but his brother, Keith, who won at Road Atlanta in April and is the reigning Atlantic Champion in the No. 40.
Partnering Norman at K-Hill in Atlantic will be Kirk Kindsfater and Johnpaul Ciancimino, while Comprent will once again field Lee Alexander, who is coming off a podium, Richard Zober and Chris Ash. Along with the two Grant brothers, Lewis Cooper Jr. is also expected from Polestar.
The Atlantic Challenge continues to get more competitive, as points leader Bruce Hamilton and K-Hill will once again have to contend with Bob Corliss, driving for Comprent, and father-and-son pairing John and Connor Burke from Company Motorsports. All drivers entered in the Atlantic Challenge at VIR are in Swift 014/Toyotas.
Friday at VIR will see a traditional practice day, with each Championship receiving two practice sessions, with qualifying and racing set to follow on Saturday and Sunday.