Roller Coaster Weekend for Chastain at Mid-Ohio
Noblesville, IN – The Mid-Ohio F1600 Formula F Championship Series double-race weekend for Chastain Motorsports had it all – with the team’s two cars experiencing just about everything that an event could deliver. Continuing the trend that saw the team win at VIR in June, two cars were entered in the No. 27 for Sam Chastain and No. 29 for the returning Evan Mehan.
With the benefit of having raced at Mid-Ohio last season, Chastain and his No. 27 were aiming for the top step of the podium. Qualifying session one on Saturday morning didn't go according to plan, with Chastain in sixth and Mehan still getting used to his Mygale/Honda, qualifying 14th.
The race would tell another story, however, as both Chastain and Mehan found themselves in a large group of cars fighting for every inch of race track. As the field shuffled, Chastain would bring the No. 27 home eighth, but Mehan put in a charge, from 14th to sixth in his debut race.
Race officials did notice that drive, however, and decided that Mehan’s aggressive moves were too much, opting to have the driver sit out for Sunday’s qualifying and race.
Down to one car on Sunday morning, Chastain, in the No. 27 Mygale/Honda, waited until his very last flying lap to score his first ever F1600 pole position. A lap of 1:28.375, two tenths clear of anyone else in an ultra-tight field, meant Chastain would lead the field to the green flag under the eyes of driver coach and team engineer Jay Howard.
The green flag flew on a 20-car F1600 starting grid shortly after lunch, with Chastain easily leading a seven-car lead group that saw him dominate the early and middle parts of the race. Making this drive notable was Chastain was a single car-team for Sunday, whereas other cars in the front group had the benefits of teammates helping with draft tactics and strategy.
As the front group become more aggressive and the wheels closer together, a racing incident between Chastain and the No. 80 car left Chastain nursing his No. 27 home for a fifth place finish and thoughts of what could have been.
“It was an overall strong weekend for the team. On Saturday we struggled a little bit, but my guys worked hard after the race to come up with a good setup for Sunday and it really showed,” said Chastain. “The race went okay for the most part, and the incident was really no fault from either of us. We were simply racing hard and touched wheels. Obviously I wish I didn’t happen, because I think both of us would have been on the podium, but we got lucky to hang on for a top five.”
Including a trip to another F1600 race at Toronto, July 18-20, Chastain Motorsports is busy preparing a third Mygale/Honda for interested drivers and plans to have multiple cars entered for the next F1600 Championship event at Pittsburgh International Race Complex, August 1-3.