Lerch Prevails at Mid-Ohio
Lexington, OH – Augie Lerch nailed down his first F1600 Formula F Championship Series race win in an aggressive round eight on Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Lerch led the lap that counted at the end, winning by a car length over Jack Mitchell Jr. and Saturday’s winner Ayla Agren, Lerch’s Team Pelfrey Mygale/Honda teammate.
Lerch played the race craft game well in a lead group of 10 cars that dwindled down to five in the closing stages.
“I was waiting it out,” commented Lerch, who takes the second Team Pelfrey win in two days at Mid-Ohio in the No. 82 entry.
Mitchell Jr. put in his usual performance that saw him move forward, and mainly at the end of the race, to match his best F1600 result with a runner-up drive for Exclusive Autosport in the Spectrum/Honda after starting from ninth.
“It was super competitive here,” said Mitchell Jr. “We had a great car and it was fun being at the front and fighting with the Pelfrey cars and Chastain.”
Agren scored her second straight podium in two days, but couldn’t sweep the weekend with another victory despite leading laps early. She beat out another Pelfrey car, Garth Rickards, who finished fourth.
Sam Chastain rounded out the top five after leading the majority of the race, but was involved in a high-profile closing stages incident with Pelfrey’s Nikita Lastochkin. Those two were fighting for the lead, but the incident left Lastochkin on his roll bar and Chastain down in fifth in his No. 27 Mygale/Honda from the Chastain Motorsports team.
The results of the race remain provisional involving incidents and grumbling regarding blocking, including a black flag warning issued to Pelfrey teammates. Meanwhile, Series officials came down hard after Saturday’s race – underscoring they would not allow aggressive driving, and even sitting out one competitor for Sunday’s race.
Andrew Hobbs could not capitalize on his best run of the year for WISKO Racing in the No. 13 Mygale/Honda. Hobbs ran up front early but contact between him and Mitchell Jr. ended his day.
At the end of the race his WISKO teammate scored his best finish of the year as Will Harvey was sixth, enjoying an entertaining battle with Joe Colascco, Art Foster, Austin McCukser and Doug Voss – who completed the top ten in his Spectrum/Honda.
After starting way behind the field with an issue on the pace lap, Steve Bamford made his way up to the top ten in an impressive drive before a last-lap incident left him in 12th.
Another unfortunate DNF was Championship contender Jim Goughary, who retired after contact with another car.
The F1600 Formula F Championship Series continues the first weekend of August from Pittsburgh International Race Complex, rounds nine and 10 of the 2014 season.
PosNo.NameLapsBest TmMake/ModelDiff 1 82 Augie Lerch 18 1:28.733 Mygale Honda - 2 93 Jack Mitchell, Jr. 18 1:28.635 Spectrum Honda +0.325 3 81 Ayla Agren 18 1:28.332 Mygale Honda +0.409 4 83 Garth Rickards 18 1:28.790 Mygale Honda +0.665 5 27 T. Sam Chastain 18 1:29.007 Mygale Sj13 Honda +1.020 6 24 Will Harvey 18 1:29.133 Mygale Sj Honda +9.755 7 3 Joe Colasacco/M 18 1:29.320 Van Diemen Honda +9.912 8 21 Arthur Foster/M 18 1:29.346 Spectrum 014 Honda +10.350 9 06 Austin McCusker 18 1:29.959 Van Deiman Honda +15.599 10 46 Douglas Voss/M 18 1:30.267 Spectrum 012B Honda +31.500 11 31 Scott Rubenzer/M 18 1:29.655 Spectrm Honda +31.717 12 07 Steve Bamford/M 18 1:29.552 Mygale Sj11 Honda +31.876 13 2 Mike Scanlan/M 18 1:31.211 Spectrum Honda +44.960 14 0 Lewis Cooper III/M 18 1:29.719 Spectrum 14 Honda +1:24.656 15 10 Max Mallinen 17 1:29.483 Spectrum 014 Honda 1 Lap 16 66 Bob Melvin/M 17 1:34.673 Van Diemen Ford +1:29.026 17 80 Nikita Lastochkin 15 1:29.068 Mygale Sj Honda 3 Laps 18 7 James Goughary/M 14 1:29.337 Van Diemen Honda 4 Laps 19 13 Andrew Hobbs 9 1:29.154 Mygale Sj Honda 9 Laps