PALMETTO, Fla. (September 1, 2015) – Three more rounds of the highly competitive F1600 Formula F Championship Series took place last weekend at New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, N.J., and once again the quartet of Team Pelfrey Mygale-Hondas were in the thick of the action.
The team’s highlights came in the opening race on Saturday when 14-year-old Jordan Cane, from Bognor Regis, England, claimed his fourth victory in just 10 starts, and in the final race on Sunday afternoon which began with the four yellow-and-black cars filling the top four positions on the starting grid. Cane continued his spectacular run of form by securing another pair of second-place finishes, while Rob Megennis, 15, from New York, N.Y., finished third in both of Sunday’s races.
Cane began the weekend as he intended to continue by qualifying on the front row of the grid for the opening race on Saturday. He quickly settled into a scrap with runaway championship leader Scott Andrews before breaking clear in the closing stages and romping to a clear victory. Cane’s eventual margin victory was an unusually large 4.049 seconds.
Megennis and Ben Auriemma, 17, from Manhasset, N.Y., also were involved in the early battle before separate incidents dropped them to eighth (Megennis) and 12th at the finish. Andrew Hobbs, 21, from Milwaukee, Wis., moved up impressively through the pack from 12th to fourth before being nudged off the road on the final lap.
Auriemma started from the pole in Race Two on Sunday morning, by virtue of posting the fastest lap of the race during the opening encounter. Cane and Megennis again fought for the lead throughout the race, joining Skylar Robinson in a hectic battle which was eventually resolved in the order Robinson, Cane and Megennis, who was credited with the fastest race lap to ensure himself of the pole position for Race Three. The three leaders were blanketed by just 0.731 of a second at the checkered flag.
Auriemma headed the next group home in fourth, while Hobbs again ran among the lead battle until being forced to make an unscheduled pit stop following an incident with Andrews.
Megennis, Hobbs, Cane and Auriemma made for a picture perfect start to the final race, filling the first two rows of the grid, although the race once again boiled down to a three-car battle between Cane, Megennis and Robinson. Cane again was the leader entering the final lap, only to once more lose out in the final shuffle to his vastly more experienced rival, Robinson. Cane and Megennis crossed the line in second and third, all of them covered this time by a fraction over two tenths of a second. Auriemma settled for fifth while the unfortunate Hobbs endured more disappointment, finishing an unrepresentative ninth after being involved in a skirmish on the final lap.
Auriemma now lies third in the championship points table, with Hobbs, Cane and Megennis in seventh, eighth and ninth prior to the final three races of the season which will see a return to the Pittsburgh International Race Complex in Wampum, Pa., on October 16-18.
WHAT THE DRIVERS SAID:
Robert Megennis (#80 Team Pelfrey/Relayrides Mygale-Honda) - Race One, started fifth, finished eighth; Race Two, started fourth, finished third; Race Three, started first, finished third: “A great weekend with two third-place finishes at New Jersey Motorsports Park. In Race One I had contact that sent me down to 13th, but I bounced back to earn seventh place. In Race 2, my teammate Jordan Cane, Skylar Robinson and I gapped the rest of the field in a three-car breakaway. We raced hard and I finished on the podium with a track race record and pole position for Race Three. In a copy of the morning, Race Three saw us in the top three again with an 11-second gap ahead of fourth, and we took our exact same spots on the podium. Exciting, smart, close racing this past weekend and lots of enthusiasm for the final three races in Pittsburgh.”
Jordan Cane (#81 Team Pelfrey/#2Bn1 Mygale-Honda) - Race One, started second, finished first; Race Two, started fifth, finished second; Race Three, started third, finished second: “I don’t think I will ever forget this weekend. The racing was so tight, we battled on nearly every lap of every race. It was a shame we couldn’t get three wins but taking the white flag whilst leading in all three races shows how close we were to it -- it was just so difficult to defend the draft. It was also a difficult weekend, as the team has very close connections to Justin (Wilson), particularly Stefan, Justin’s brother, who is a Team Pelfrey Driver Coach and was coaching me only three weeks ago in a USF2000 car. It was an honor to have the #BadAssWilson decals on the car and I’d like to dedicate this weekend to the Wilson family. I would also like to say just how much I am enjoying my racing at the moment and give thanks to Team Pelfrey for an awesome job. This was meant to be a learning year for me. I didn’t expect to get on the podium, particularly when you look at the standard of competition.”
Ben Auriemma (#82 Team Pelfrey/ACG Motorsports Mygale-Honda) - Race One, started fourth, finished 12th; Race Two, started first, finished fourth; Race Three, started fourth, finished fifth: “This weekend has been insanely frustrating. It's been minuscule technical mistakes on my part that have been magnified by circumstances and turned into huge issues. What I can say is that I left absolutely nothing on the table this weekend – my problems were definitely not a lack of trying or too little commitment. I know I need to continue to push for perfection as I've been doing all season. It's going to be a long month and a half before we before we go back to work in Pittsburgh.”
Andrew Hobbs (#83 Team Pelfrey/Pulse/Master Tech/David Hobbs Honda Mygale-Honda) - Race One, started 12th, finished 14th; Race Two, started fifth, finished 12th; Race Three, started second, finished ninth: “Overall it was a frustrating weekend which started off slowly, and once we got up to speed and were running up front, I got involved in some incidents which compromised my weekend. I was running in the top five in all three races, but with the nature of F1600 racing, sometimes you can easily get caught out through no fault of your own as well as paying the consequence for small mistakes, like I did in Race Two. Overall, the speed was there again and I am looking forward to some positive results again in Pittsburgh.”