Kirkwood, Robinson, Das take U.S. F4 victories at Mid-Ohio
Kyle Kirkwood, Skylar Robinson and Cameron Das claimed the three wins as Mid-Ohio hosted the US Formula 4 championship’s second race weekend.
Karting ace Kyle Kirkwood proved himself the master of wet conditions in the first race of the weekend, driving his Primus Racing entry to a stunning 20sec victory over Skylar Robinson of Momentum Motorsports who was himself 20sec clear of Jackie Ding of Group-A Racing.
Due to the wet conditions, F4 U.S. drivers completed their first rolling start of the season and the field was under a full course yellow until 18 minutes into the race as cars ran into each other.
Damage would also claim Konrad Czaczyk of Leading Edge Grand Prix, who swept the first race weekend, also held at Mid-Ohio.
“The track conditions were really scary at times,” said Kirkwood. “This was my first time competing in the rain in a full sized car. I really had to keep focused too because Skylar and I were neck-to-neck at times. He made a mistake late in the race that allowed me to pull away and cross the finish line uncontested.”
That mistake by Robinson was a late spin. Robinson took home an impressive second-place finish even after making a 360-degree turn on the track late in the race. Meanwhile, Ding was demoted to fourth by Race Control who adjudged him to have passed the second Primus Racing entry of James Goughary Jr. while under a yellow.
Robinson started from pole position after Konrad Czaczyk had to withdraw due to crash damage from Race 1. But Robinson certainly didn’t have it easy, as China’s Jackie Ding – another newbie to the series – grabbed the lead on Lap 7.
The Group-A racer wasn’t able to escape, but his defense looked impregnable until the very last lap of the 30-minute race. A slow exit out of Mid-Ohio’s Keyhole fast hairpin allowed Robinson to gain momentum and dive down the inside to grab the lead into Turn 4.
Said Ding: “The whole race was a dog fight. I made a rookie mistake and let Skylar pass by me. I thought that I could fight my way back, but in the end, he was faster.”
While Ding was only
Austin Kaszuba of GMV Motorsport, started sixth but finished just a quarter-second behind Ding and 0.4sec ahead of Das to claim the final podium place.
Cameron Das’ earned pole for the last race of the weekend by taking fastest lap in Race 2, and with teammate Darren Keane taking second fastest lap, that should have meant a JDX Racing lockout of the front row. However, due to a penalty for changing an engine during race weekend, Keane was forced to start 11th.
That promoted Moises de la Vara (Leading Edge GP) and Michael Goodyear (GMV) to third, with Kirkwood and Ding rounding out the top five.
Das led the race from start to finish, and commented afterward: “It feels great to see victory circle,” Das said. “All the hard work we put in this weekend really paid off. We worked on the car a lot and saw big improvements. I just needed to stay consistent, put good laps in and stay on track. We were extremely happy with the end results.”
Behind Das, however, was where the action was and all hell broke loose with seven minutes to go, as Raphael Forcier of Group-A, Kaszuba and Benjamin Pedersen of Leading Edge tried to go three-abreast through the Keyhole.
Only Kaszuba made it out the other side of the inevitable incident, and would go on to be classified fifth behind Das, Kirkwood, de la Vara and Goodyear, as the race finished under yellow.
The F4 U.S. Championship’s next race weekend is at New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, New Jersey, Aug. 26-28.
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