Three down, three to go. Three more chances to keep gaining ground in Season Two of a young racer’s career. That was the story for rising young open wheel driver Jacob Abel and his Abel Motorsports team at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this past weekend. The event marked the midpoint of the Formula 4 United States Championship Powered by Honda season.
Seventeen-year-old Abel found speed and consistency in the weekend’s second of three 30-minute sprint races, earning a top-six starting spot for the round, and racing his way to a top-five finish, his best run of the season thus far, and an F4 career best.
“We were really fast in the first two practices, and we had the 6th fastest lap in race 1, which gave us a real edge for race 2. Now we need to build on that when we get to Pittsburgh in a few weeks” Abel noted.
The top-five finish comes just a week after Abel’s first career top-ten run in another series, further proof that young Abel and his team are making great progress toward their shared goal of becoming champions. And it came on one of the hottest weather weekends at Mid-Ohio in recent years, putting additional pressure on both driver and race team.
Each F4 US weekend consists of three races counting toward the FIA-approved Championship. Abel qualified 14th for Mid-Ohio Race 1, and gained three positions to finish 11th in a race that saw minimal green-flag laps completed due to several on-track incidents.
Mid Ohio’s third half-hour F4 race was a tough one for Abel who failed to finish for the first time this year.
“We started thirteenth,” Abel commented. “We made good progress throughout the event. I was about to make a pass for eighth when another competitor got me in the right rear as we were in Turn 2, the Keyhole. It did a lot of damage and ended our day with a couple laps left. It was really disappointing.”
But the top-five in Race 2 was his fourth top-ten of 2018 in the highly-competitive F4 U.S. Championship. It’s another high mark in the young racer’s developmental climb.
“For sure it was our best weekend yet. We’re definitely more confident as a team. This weekend was a coming-out for us”, commented Abel, as the team prepares for F4’s fourth race weekend of the year at Pittsburgh International the first weekend of August.
Team manager Mark Gibbs reacted to the Mid-Ohio weekend: “The hot weather was a real challenge. But more Mid-Ohio seat time is great for Jacob, and the fact that the track was greasy, and the fact that there was a lot of good tight racing…that’s always good.”
Team Principal Bill Abel called it “definitely a positive, successful weekend. It was our second top five as a team, and we’re pretty excited about it. We had speed all weekend, and we’re really looking forward to the second half of the season.”
Abel Motorsports and Jacob Abel will return to action August 3-5 at Pittsburgh International Race Complex, the year’s fourth racing weekend in the F4 US Championship.