Portante Wins at VIR, Verhagen Takes Title
Alton, VA - Another close F1600 Formula F Championship Series race at VIRginia International Raceway saw Peter Portante claim the victory by inches in the penultimate round of the 2016 season. Neil Verhagen clinched the 2016 title with a second place finish. Portante fought off K-Hill Motorsports teammate Verhagen and Phillippe Denes, of Team Pelfrey, in a three-car fight to the checkered flag coming off turn 17 at VIR.
"It was obviously a good race," said Portante, who drives the No. 24 K-Hill Motorsports Mygale/Honda. "Everything was good, the car was good per usual. I'm super happy with the result. If we can't cross the line three-wide it's not really an F1600 race."
Points leader Verhagen took home second place points after a Friday win at VIR, claiming him the 2016 F1600 title with one race to spare at VIR.
"It has been a phenomenal year, I need to thank the K-Hill boys for that. We just wrapped the Championship up," said Verhagen. "It's a great feeling."
Phillippe Denes was the first of three Team Pelfrey cars, and finished third for the second straight race in the No. 81 in the Saturday morning round at VIR.
"It was the same last laps we always have with really great racing. It was a matter of coming down to the line and I didn't have it that time," said Denes.
Ming, meanwhile, made it two fourth place finishes in two days in the No. 82 Team Pelfrey Mygale/Honda, while K-Hill driver Hans Ada improved one spot from Friday to Saturday, from sixth to fifth.
Of note, a full course caution came out on lap five for Friday's Masters Class winner Joe Colasacco, who needed to be retrieved after going off in turn 17.
Team Pelfrey's Kaylen Frederick led on the restart from the caution, but went off in turn one, taking him out of the lead group. Frederick will look to bounce back in the final round of the season on Sunday morning, hoping to take the race win after a second place run on Friday.
Bob Perona won the Masters Class with a sixth place effort, ahead of Mike Scanlan and Greg Rice.
The story now turns to the fight for second in the Championship standings, with Portante leading Denes and Ming. Portante has 705 points compared to 694 for Denes and 672 for Ming with 55 points up for grabs.
The 2016 F1600 season concludes on Sunday morning from VIR.