Portante Wins Mid-Ohio Fight
Lexington, OH - Peter Portante won round 10 of the F1600 Formula F Championship Series at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after a race-long battle for the lead among six cars. It was Portante's second win of 2016 for K-Hill Motorsports as teammate Neil Verhagen finished second and Team Pelfrey's Calvin Ming completed the podium.
"It was an absolute pleasure, the car was great," Portante said. "The car was amazing, it made me win a race. It was a mega race. Everyone up front was doing well. We have had a cold streak since the opener, we have done well when we finish."
Portante also won the season opener for K-Hill at Road Atlanta, while teammate Verhagen closes on the points lead with a second-place finish and handful of laps led.
"Well first I need to thank K-Hill Motorsports and Honda for the great package," Verhagen said."The last couple of laps were exciting, fluctuating between passing for the lead and going back to fourth. We had to concentrate on making as many spots as we could."
The start of the race saw Verhagen take the lead from the second row of the grid and grow his margin to a full second after three laps, before Kaylen Frederick moved through the top five and into second, closing on Verhagen's gearbox on lap five.
The lead group would contract with a group of six cars on lap seven, with Verhagen leading Frederick, points leader Phillippe Denes, Portante, Calvin Ming and Masters Class driver Steve Bamford.
The Team Pelfrey drivers made their moves on lap eight, with Frederick taking the lead ahead of teammate Denes. Frederick would lead a lap before Denes moved to the front of the field.
With two laps to go, it was Verhagen in the lead over Portante and the trio of Pelfrey teammates, while Portante took the lead on the same lap and held it through the last circuit of Mid-Ohio, with Verhagen and Ming right behind him.
"It was a good race, it was a battle between six people," said Ming. "In the end I managed to get third which was a good result. It was good racing and we tried to make whatever passes we could."
Pelfrey teammates Denes and Frederick finished fourth and fifth, while Bamford won the Masters Class with a sixth place finish at the tail-end of the lead group, setting the fastest lap of the race, putting him on pole for Sunday morning's F1600 race.
Hans Ada finished seventh for K-Hill after a nice battle with F1600 newcomer Cliff Johnson, who finished second in the Masters Class on his debut weekend.
"I'm glad to be here, it's a wonderful series," said Johnson. "It was pretty tough. It was fun, trying to keep up with the kids, they taught me a lot."
In addition, debuting this weekend, Andy Melvin and Jeffrey Bartz completed the top ten in the all-green-flag 19-lap race.
F1600 action continues on Sunday with morning and afternoon races, rounds 11 and 12 of the season.