FRP Mid-Ohio Preview
Salem, NH – At the season-opening Formula Race Promotions event, six of seven races came down to last lap passes for the lead. This weekend, the F1600, F2000 and Atlantic Championship Series head for their second event of the 2017 season at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, in a tight and action packed two-day weekend just 12 days following the season opener at VIR.
Fans looking for racing action will get three F1600 Championship Series races spread out on Saturday at Mid-Ohio. Drivers and teams will practice and qualify Friday before 90 minutes of Saturday racing spread out in three slots on the Formula Race Promotions schedule. That means any mistakes will be compounded – with the threat of missing a race and important Championships points.
Heading into the triple-header weekend, which marks rounds four, five and six of the season, K-Hill Motorsports driver Zach Holden sits on top of the F1600 Championship point standings thanks to a double win at VIR.
“My goals for this weekend are to get podiums in the three races. After having a solid weekend at VIR I think that is best for us,” Holden said.
Team Pelfrey drivers Jonathan Jotyk and Matthew Cowley sit second and third, respectively, while Lance Fenderson is fourth and Masters Class driver Joe Colasacco is in fifth following three Masters wins at VIR.
Two of three VIR races came down to margins of victory that were .020 seconds, or just a couple of inches.
Both F2000 races at VIR came down to last lap passes, with Brandon Dixon taking the Sunday win and Nick Palacio emerging first a day prior.
Meanwhile, two third place finishes from Steve Jenks has vaulted the No. 68 to the top of the Championship standings over Dixon’s No. 5 heading into rounds three and four of the 2017 season.
“Last year at Mid Ohio I qualified third for one of the races but faded in the race. This year I would like to have a better race performance,” Jenks said. “We continue to shoot for the overall podium. Since we are going to Mid-Ohio twice it will be important to learn some set up tips for the second visit the F2000 Series makes in June.”
Coming into Mid-Ohio, the story will also be focused on John LaRue, who did not race at VIR but is an expert at the Mid-Ohio track. LaRue, who normally runs a partial F2000 campaign, has multiple F2000 Mid-Ohio wins and knows every inch of the circuit.
In addition, Team Pelfrey will expand into the F2000 Series at Mid-Ohio with Vincent Khristov in the No. 80 Mazda-powered Van Diemen.
Also making his F2000 debut will be 15-year-old Kent Vaccaro, joining Tim Paul at Momentum Motorsports.
Saturday’s Atlantic race at VIR saw Keith Grant go from third to first on a late race restart, while a day later, it was Peter Portante passing David Grant for the lead on the last lap to score his first Atlantic victory.
David Grant scored both Atlantic poles in the season opener and led the most laps in the Polestar No. 29, but failed to convert, settling for two second-place finishes which has given him the Championship points lead.
The 2012 Series Champion triumphed at Mid-Ohio on his Series return in 2016, while Keith Grant, the 2015 Champion, had two strong second place finishes last season.
As for K-Hill’s Portante, his first weekend in an Atlantic car delivered a win and a third place finish; and he ran well in F1600 competition at Mid-Ohio in 2016.
Comprent’s Rich Zober scored a strong Masters Class win at VIR and will look to build on that progress this weekend as Mid-Ohio hosts rounds three and four of the 14-round Atlantic season.