Futrelle Takes Hard-Fought Opener at Road Atlanta
Braselton, GA – Franklin Futrelle muscled his way to the front of the field in an all-out multi-car battle at Road Atlanta to take the opening race in the 2014 F1600 Formula F Championship Series season. Futrelle marked his first F1600 win in fifth-ever start, taking the checkered under caution in his Spectrum/Honda for Raceworks. Jim Goughary dominated the race until a late restart to finish second for Ski Motorsports in a Van Diemen/Honda, while polesitter Garth Rickards completed the podium in a Mygale/Honda for Team Pelfrey in a race that saw a 12-car pack at the front.
“Garth popped on Jim in turn one, going to the inside, and I went to the outside,” said Futrelle, a professional driver coach, and full-time F1600 season entrant. “I was able to stay on the outside and got to turn three, by Jim, and then took Garth in turn ten. Being in the lead here, you’re basically a sitting duck.”
Goughary missed out on a win after leading basically the entire race, as the veteran and former race winner was able to take the lead, and break the draft with ten cars behind him locked side-by-side for multiple laps.
“I really didn’t want to see that yellow come out,” said Goughary, who had managed to build a three second lead while the cars behind him were busy racing one another. “Ski is working so hard to give me a good car and it was fast today.”
Rickards completed the podium and was near the front for most of the green, in his F1600 debut for Pelfrey’s four car team.
“There was passing everywhere,” Rickards said. “We were going four-wide into turn ten, three-wide into turn one. It was all around the track.”
Ayla Agren finished fourth while Steve Bamford charged through the field from 14th on the grid to complete the top five in race one of the 14-race season.
The race ended under caution following a turn ten incident between Esteban Garzon and Sam Chastain, with Chastain’s Mygale ending up in the air. Chastain emerged shaken but okay after the scary incident while the two were fighting for seventh on the race track.
Nikita Lastochkin finished sixth in his F1600 Championship debut for WISKO Racing with Augie Lerch following closely in seventh ahead of Joe Colasacco, Esteban Garzon and Art Foster.
Lew Cooper was 11th, moving over to the Spectrum/Honda for the weekend from the Van Diemen/Ford, while Brandon Angel, Futrelle's Raceworks teammate was 12th following a Friday incident.
Max Mallinen, from Swan Motorsports, missed the race after an incident in qualifying during the morning.
The weekend at Road Atlanta continues on Sunday with F1600 qualifying at 8:20am followed by the second and final race of the weekend at 2:40pm.