Jupiter, FL – A full Friday practice day at Palm Beach International Raceway saw Tonis Kasemets (F1600),Quinlan Lall (F2000) and Kasemets again (Atlantic) at the top of the day-end time charts after hours of testing time around the 11-turn road course in preparation for this weekend’s exhibition races at the Palm Beach Grand Prix.
It was a picture perfect day in South Florida, and the 15-year-old Lall paced the F2000 Championship Series time sheets for the first time ever to start his second season in the Series. Palm Beach was the location of Lall’s first ever laps in a F2000 machine as he ran a fast lap of 1:15.5 for the day in the Momentum Motorsports Van Diemen.
2014 Championship runner-up Skylar Robinson started the weekend in the No. 16 Radon entry with an engine issue cutting his running time on Thursday to just two laps. Friday was a new day for Robinson, as overnight the team prepared another chassis, the No. 86 Radon. Robinson responded by turning in the second fastest lap of the day.
“It’s going very well and we’ve made changes to adjust the balance,” said Robinson, who ran the second fastest lap of the day. “It’s heading in the right direction and it’s really about fine-tuning stuff now.”
It was an exciting news-filled day for the F2000 Series as the weekend saw late entries filed by Eric Filgueiras and Sam Chastain, adding two more young rising stars to the field. Chastain turned one installation lap on Thursday followed by a nice amount of practice time on track on Friday despite being plagued by electrical issues in the No. 30 Chastain Motorsports Van Diemen. Filgueiras, who won a 2014 HSR Championship, also clocked in lap after lap.
“I’m happy to have this opportunity,” said Filgueiras of the practice time offered by Series organizers as he mounts his campaign on the 2015 14-race F2000 Championship.
Also of note were the Dotworks Racing brother duo of John and Austin McCusker, who ran competitive lap times in Palm Beach for the second straight day.
On the F1600 side of the equation, a multitude of young new rookie drivers found themselves together on track for the first time. Entries included four Chastain Motorsports cars, three from 2014 Championship squad Team Pelfrey, and a single car from K-Hill Motorsports, which hopes to expand its program prior to the start of the season at Road Atlanta.
It was veteran driver Tonis Kasemets, however, that set the fastest lap of the day in the Polestar Racing Group Spectrum/Honda. Kasemets was filling in for Lew Cooper, who was not in attendance. His best lap of 1:19.610 was some four tenths up on what anyone else could muster, with Kyle Kirkwood running the second fastest time of the day for Chastain, and fellow rookie Ben Auriemma third quick for Team Pelfrey as a pair of Mygales followed the Polestar Spectrum.
For the Atlantic Championship Series competitors, Kasemets again set the mark running just a handful of laps for a quick time of 1:09.205 in a recently-built Swift 016. Bruce Hamilton also clocked in a fast time of 1:09.982 for K-Hill Motorsports for second quick on the day.
The Palm Beach Grand Prix features all Formula Race Promotion championships with three races on Saturday afternoon, February 14.
Full results are available through www.formularacepromotions.com.