Even though Dakota Dickerson has driven on just about all the well-known race tracks in North America, this was a first for him at Pittsburgh International Race Complex. The DC Autosport driver found out soon enough that when this 2.85-mile circuit is wet, it can be challenging to get around those corners with reduced visibility, as the first practice session happened in the rain. When a red flag came out during the session, visibility was poor and many drivers didn’t see it, including Dickerson. Hence, Dickerson was among those drivers penalized for not respecting the red flag and had 5 grid positions taken away relegating him to start in 12th place for the first race of the weekend’s Formula 4 United States Championship Powered by Honda.
“The track was wet, and the visibility was low. With the sprays coming from the cars in front of me, it was tough to see. I never saw the red flag” said Dickerson. Pitt race is an incredibly fun track to drive on. It has lots of elevation with a good number of high speed, high commitment corners.”
On Saturday afternoon, as soon as Round 10’s green flag was out, Dickerson carved his way up through the field and went from 12th place to 7th in less than 2 laps. Conditions were dry, and at the end of Lap 2, a full-course yellow came out due to a multi-car incident. It took a long while for the safety team to remove the cars who had caused the incident and get them to a safe place. On the re-start, with less than 3 minutes to go in the race, there was very little time for Dickerson to work his magic and get his #9 RoxBalden/Stress Engineering Services/BelTerra machine to gain a few more spots. The San Diego native finished in 7th, but after official review, final results gave Dickerson a 6th place, giving him yet more points towards the Championship.
“We had a great start” said Dickerson. “As soon as we went green, I passed two cars going into Turn One, and then got by three more guys in turn 3, just before the yellow flag came out on the following lap. The DC Autosport guys gave me a great car, but on the re-start, I just didn’t have enough green time to work my way farther up the field. Instead of my 7th place finish, I got moved up to 6th in final results.”
Sunday morning’s Round 11 had a bit of a late start, but when the F4US drivers hit the track, the whole field enjoyed some uninterrupted green time for a good part of the race. Dakota Dickerson scored his fastest time at 1:41.8 on Lap 5. A few laps later, in his usual driving style, Dickerson pulled off a good pass, and moved up to 5th place. The field was tight, with everyone protecting their position and driving carefully, hoping to bring the car home for the last race of the weekend. Dickerson then made a move for 4th place just before a full-course yellow was brought out. A few minutes later, the race checkered under yellow.
Photo: Joseph Bierschbach – Red Case Photography
On Sunday afternoon, Dakota Dickerson started 6th on the grid for Round 12, the last race of the weekend under cloudy skies and 76 degrees. The green flag gave way to a 7-car pile-up in Turn 4 on the very first lap, bringing out a full-course yellow followed by a Red Flag. But just before the incident happened, Dickerson had managed to pass car #40 (Miller) and grab 5th place. And what a smart move that was, as Miller’s car was one of the cars involved in the incident. Race Control instructed all cars to come into pitlane while safety crews attended to the drivers involved in the incident. Soon after, all the drivers were reported to be okay. The cars went back out with 7 laps of green time to go. The rest of the race was incident-free and ended with Dakota keeping his 5th place finish. The young Californian once again displayed some great driving experience.
Dakota Dickerson and the DC Autosport Team were happy with the weekend and the three Top-6 finishes as they gained more points and kept the Championship lead.
“The weekend as a whole was not what we were hoping for in terms of our results and pace” said Dickerson. “We certainly were looking for another win this weekend, but the entire team did the best that we could and managed to extend our points lead in a very tight championship. We are going to put our heads down and make some adjustment for the next race weekend and come back stronger. I want to thank my sponsors Rox Balden, Stress Engineering Services, Sabelt America. I wouldn’t be here without their precious support.”
Be sure to join us for the next F4US Championship’s official race on September 14-16, 2018 at the New Jersey Motorsorts Park. All sessions can be followed on Race Monitor.