Watkins Glen Finale Preview
Watkins Glen, NY – Ayla Agren comes into the final two rounds of the 2014 F1600 Formula F Championship season with a razor-thin points lead ahead of teammate Garth Rickards. Whoever conquers the Championship’s second trip of the year to the Glen will be crowned the 2014 F1600 Champion after a season that’s seen 10 winners in 12 races.
Augie Lerch sits third in the points standings, still alive for the title, and he makes it a one-two-three for Team Pelfrey and its fleet of Mygale/Hondas before Jack Mitchell Jr. and Jim Goughary in fourth and fifth. Four of those five have taken race wins this year with the exception of Rickards, who has put together a consistent season of podium finishes and near victories.
Looking back to rounds three and four of the Series in May – it was Goughary who ran strong, taking his second win in three races at that point. But out of the Championship contenders it was Rickards who took the most points home, starting from pole in the second race and running the fastest lap of the event.
The top five in the Championship offer up a diverse set of drivers. Agren hails from Norway, now living in Florida, and is enjoying her second year in F1600 competition. Meanwhile, teammates Rickards and Lerch are both home-grown American kids – in their debut F1600 seasons. Mitchell Jr. dominated the Canadian F1600 tour in 2013 and took a sole win in a challenging race at Pittsburgh in August. Goughary looks to have the Masters Class title wrapped up for drivers over 40, and will fly home to go to work on Monday morning.
And with any race weekend there are spoilers. Chastain Motorsports swept Thompson in August, taking both wins, and has added a third blue Mygale for Andy Lewis. Evan Mehan, in the teams’ No. 28, has been lightning quick in the select races he has entered, and Sam Chastain in the No. 27 car should have the momentum coming off a decisive victory drive on Sunday at Thompson.
Steve Bamford missed out on a win at Thompson after an incident with Mehan in the closing stages on Sunday, and could play spoiler at a track he has many laps at.
Absent from the entry list is Austin McCusker, who makes the move this weekend to the bigger F2000 cars, while Lewis Cooper III and Max Mallinen are busy at the SCCA Runoffs at Laguna Seca.
Meanwhile, drivers such as Will Harvey and Andrew Hobbs have shown flashes of speed, but the WISKO teammates are both still looking for their first podiums of the year and hope to end 2014 on a high note.
F1600 teams get an hour of practice on Friday split into two thirty-minute free practice sessions, followed by standard 30-minute flat-out Saturday morning qualifying and a race Saturday afternoon. Sunday mimics the Saturday schedule with a morning qualifying session and the season finale, round 14 of the 2014 Championship, later in the day.