The Formula 4 United States Championship Powered by Honda debuted its second season in an all-out 33 car assault Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The grid, mixed with young-guns and seasoned vets, all lined-up with a common goal, to become the next F4 U.S. champion.
Defending F4 U.S. team champion JDX Racing extended its winning streak to 10 wins with rookie Timo Reger of Houston, Texas, rallying for P1 early in the race. Global Racing Group would own positions 2 and 3 with Benjamin Pedersen of Copenhagen, Denmark, claiming P2 and Jacob Loomis of Corinth, Texas, rounding out the podium.
“Winning my first F4 U.S. race was an awesome feeling,” said Reger. “It’s a great to start the season off on a high note. JDX put together a fast car and I was able to set a fast pace from the start. I am looking forward to the next two races and the season ahead. I have a great team supporting me and I know what it takes to grab them another championship!”
Reger started second on the grid behind Pedersen. Both competitors got a great start but Reger pressured Pedersen throughout the first lap. Reger finally caught Pedersen by using the high banks and drafting to overtake No. 24 on the outside in NASCAR 4. Reger would lead the entire race.
Reger continued to pull away from the pack, but the action happening in his mirrors had spectators at the edge of their seats. Pedersen fought off rookies trying to seize his reign. In the Jay Howard’s Motorsport Driver Development No. 26 car, Sam Paley of Cincinnati, started making his move to the front early. He exchanged positions with Baltazar Leguizamon of Buenos Aires and Loomis several times before he set his eyes on Pedersen.
A yellow flag thrown early in the race from an off-track incident would slow down the pace, closing the gap to leaders Reger and Pedersen. On the restart, Paley got the jump and overtook Pedersen after two laps. Pedersen was quick to use Paley’s draft to retake his P2 spot. Paley would concede his run after overcorrecting in T2 trying to dodge a spin-off from Leguizamon. The non-contact incident would cause a yellow which would remain out until the 30-minute race clock expired.
The real Cinderella story of the afternoon was from Jordan Sherratt of Durban, South Africa. After receiving a disqualification in post-qualifying tech for improper ride height, the Crosslink Racing pilot was required to start Race 1 in last position. As soon as the light turned green, the No. 37 tiffany-blue Crosslink Powder Coating car gained speed, cleanly passing several cars. The young South African would finish the race seventh. Sherratt’s Race 1 speed paid-off. He will start P3 on the grid for Race 2.
“It was very tiring, but I got a good start,” Sherratt said. “I slowly worked my way through the field. The cautions played to my part and I’m very happy with our results.”
While the rookies shined in the Miami heat, returning F4 U.S. competitors had several complications throughout the day. Inaugural third place champion Kyle Kirkwood of Jupiter, Florida, would retire from Race 1 early after experiencing mechanical issues. Skylar Robinson of Augusta, Georgia, lost two laps after receiving contact which caused him to return to the pits before finishing the first lap. Konrad Czaczyk of Jupiter, Florida, suffered mechanical obstacles during qualifications which impeded the inaugural Championship runner-up from starting Race 1.
Qualifying was held early Saturday afternoon. Lap after lap, the field times were tight. Ten competitors broke inaugural season champion Cameron Das’ fast-lap time set at Homestead-Miami Speedway last season with another four still in the 1:24 range. Returning Global Racing Group competitor Pedersen emerged with the fastest lap, earning pole position for Race 1 and the first Cameron Das Fast Qualifier Award presented by Pro-Sim.
“We are tremendously pleased to see such a large grid start the race,” said SCCA Pro Racing Vice President Steve Oseth. “All the new drivers meshed very well with the returning drivers on the track. Times were really close. It’s going to be an exciting season.”
Two races remain on Sunday for the F4 U.S. Championship competitors. Starting in Row 2 is Jack William Miller of Westfield, Indiana, and Sherratt. Ben Waddell of Denver, Colorado, will start on the outside in Row 1, while returning F4 U.S. competitor Raphael Forcier will start on pole.