Sharon, CT - Just eight points separate F1600 Formula F Championship Series leaders Brandon Newey and Matias Koykka, and with four races to go, a Summit Point doubleheader this weekend could provide an opportunity for one to establish himself as the driver to beat.
While both are young aspiring open-wheel racers, which is about all they have in common. Newey is American, driving a Mygale/Honda for Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb/ Agajanian. Koykka, on the other hand, hails from Finland, driving a Spectrum/Honda for Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing.
Neither driver has won a race since Lime Rock in May, but strong finishes have propelled them both to be fighting for the Series title.
Newey holds the Championship lead, having moved back to Purdue University between races.
“These last couple of races we have been really fast, but seem to have some bad luck in the races themselves. I know if we keep doing what we are doing we will have get some more wins,” Newey noted.
Koykka, meanwhile, headed back to Finland after Mid-Ohio to attend college.
“For Summit Point, we need to keep on scoring those valuable points,” Koykka said. “Mid-Ohio was much closer racing than the previous races, so it'll require good work to beat the competition in the last two races. The track seems to be the smallest of the six venues this year; it's my job to learn it during the opening sessions.”
Koykka, is referring of course, to the five car shootout that took place at Mid-Ohio in July, with the leaders trading places lap after lap.
If those two tangle, it could provide Citation driver Jeremy Grenier an opportunity to climb the Championship ladder. Grenier, driving for Ski Motorsports, sits in third place in the standings, and Summit Point is his home track.
“We struggled to get the car to handle at Mid-Ohio and are in the process of making some new parts for the rear to try to fix the handling,” explained Grenier. “We are missing something in the setup of the Citation. I think if we can find it we should be able to compete for wins. As for the Mygale and the Spectrum, they are definitely good cars. The drivers in those cars are doing a great job.”
Also looming in the points battle is Canadian Garett Grist, Newey's teammate. Grist ended the Mid-Ohio event with a second place effort.
“For Summit my goal is for a win or two,” said Grist. “After Mid-Ohio we learned a lot and have good momentum going forward. As of right now due to a few DNFs I am just focusing on wins and if I’m able to do that it will bring me back into the championship hunt.”
Shae Davies sits eighth in points, having missed four races of the year, but is back at Summit Point and will race at Watkins Glen in October. Davies, from Australia and driving for Cape Motorsports, has won three out of the four races he has contested, and if he keeps that streak up, could figure in for the title too.
The Summit Point weekend features a packed schedule, with F1600 sharing track time with the Atlantic Championship Series and F2000, in addition to motorcycles. Practice gets going on Friday, August 24, at 9:00 local time, with another session at 10:45 and qualifying rounds following at 1:15 and 3:00. Saturday and Sunday feature a 7:30 warm up and 11:00 race, with live audio available for qualifying and races, and updates throughout the weekend on www.f1600series.com.