Teammates, Rookies and Series Newcomers Challenge Joshua Car's Championship Lead
LEXINGTON, OHIO (Aug. 8, 2019)- A deep roster of talented drivers backed by strong Formula 4 United States Championship Powered by Honda teams return to the NASCAR Xfinity Series ticket at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Aug. 8-10 for a three-round weekend of close wheel-to-wheel racing.
With the championship battle heating up as the series enters the second half of the season, the 26 F4 drivers have to face Mid-Ohio’s high-speed straights and technical corners before moving up in the standings.
Championship-leader Joshua Car took three top-10 results at Mid-Ohio last season under the Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsport banner. Hot off a win and two second-place finishes just two weeks ago at Virginia International Raceway, Car is confident that his yellow No. 9 Wright Drilling & Exploration Oil & Gas Partner Opportunities machine will cross the stripe first this year. If the opening practice is any indicator of his race performance, his predictions of holding the tallest podium step will come true.
“Mid-Ohio is one of the most competitive race tracks on the F4 schedule this season,” said Car, who was fastest in the first official practice on Thursday. “I really love this track. It has an awesome flow and is a place where we can really work. It is really cool to have two rounds of the championship so close to each other, as I get to get to do what I love best again, driving. We head into this weekend off the back of my best event of the year and I deeply believe in myself going into this event.”
Car leads the championship by 40 points over second-place DEForce Racing pilot Kiko Porto. But, with three 30-minute rounds of racing this weekend and each event so far this season producing three different winners, Porto has the opportunity to close the points gap or top the leaderboard, respectively, by the conclusion of the weekend.
“We are coming here in Mid-Ohio with great chances of a podium,” Porto said. “My team, DEForce, and I are working hard to be able to maintain regularity and maybe get the victories. It is to keep working and God willing we will achieve our goals.”
Porto isn’t the only driver Car has to watch for in his mirrors. His Crosslink/Kiwi teammates Arthur Leist and Jose Blanco are also dominating the result charts this season. Coming off a win and a third-place finish at VIR, Leist is starting to find his rhythm in the No. 18 Carnes Del Sur Ligier JS F4. Blanco’s consistent podium finishes and top-10 results have earned the Puerto Rican pilot a solid fifth-place standing in the championship, but he’s hungry for the top step.
“We’ve had pretty good results all year but just haven’t been able to put those together for a win,” Blanco said. “I really like this track and I hope to get my first win of the season.”
Making his single-seater debut in April, Jay Howard Driver Development pilot Christian Brooks leads the rookie class in points. Following a rough start to the season with penalties and rookie milestones, Brooks claimed his first checkered in the VIR finale. The California-native’s Rally Cross background will come in useful at Mid-Ohio. Using his drifting abilities in the corners paired with his excellent car control skills, Brooks will definitely put on a show for fans, thrashing around the hot and slick Mid-Ohio surface.
“There’s a lot of elevation changes here at Mid-Ohio at the apex so the car likes to come out from under me,” explained Brooks. “I was definitely drifting in the corners during practice. Car control is where I strive the most, especially if it rains. I think Rally Cross will help me around those corners and keeping the car underneath me.”
Another driver to watch this weekend is Brazilian Guilherme Peixoto. After a good performance, two weeks ago, at Virginia International Raceway, Peixoto holds eighth place in the overall standings and is the second-best rookie in results. The DEForce Racing driver has quickly evolved during his first year in single-seaters, scoring points in eight out of the nine races so far. Getting more confident behind the wheel, Peixoto was very close to his first podium in the last round at VIR and was third quickest (behind Car and Hays) in Thursday afternoon practice.
“The expectation for this round is very high, said Peixoto. “In Virginia, we had a very fast car with a chance of winning. I hope to keep the same performance in Mid-Ohio and try to secure a victory or our first podium.”
Car also has series newcomers to battle. On holiday from the French F4, Nicky Hays returns to the DC Autosport with Cape Motorsports tent, after debuting with the team at VIR. Driving the No. 51 Windfield Racing School car, Hays was just about two tenths of a second (0.170) off Car’s pace in the opening practice at Mid-Ohio on Thursday.
“All the work we did in Virginia left us with a really good pace coming into this weekend a lot stronger,” explained Hayes. “This is my first time here at Mid-Ohio. It’s a really fun course and I have to get into a rhythem to put a lap together. I think we have the pace to be number one in qualifying tomorrow. DC Autosport has given me a great car and I think we will be fighting for P1 come race time.”
A weekend wild card is SCCA club standout Liam Snyder as he makes his first series appearance at Mid-Ohio. Running the Crosslink/Kiwi colors this weekend, 16-year-old Snyder comes from a long lineage of SCCA racers and is confident in his ability to be in the top-10 at the start of the weekend.
“I am thrilled to join one of the most competitive Pro Racing Series in the United States, and I eagerly anticipate an exciting race with Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsport,” said Snyder. “It is great to be joining such an amazing team that is local to my area. After days of testing I can be sure that I along with the car will be competitive for the top spot on the podium.”
F4 U.S. drivers will participate in a pair of practices on Thursday. Friday is a busy day for drivers with qualifying (8:30 am ET) and two 30-minute races (10:55 am and 3:00 pm ET). The weekend caps off on Saturday with the final 30-mintue race before the flagship Xfinity NASCAR event (10:40 am ET).
The F4 U.S Championship made its world debut in 2016 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, kicking off its inaugural season and long history with the course. Since then, F4 U.S. has grown into a premier junior formula single-seater series, attracting up-and-coming talent from all over the world.
For more information, full results, event photos and video recaps, visit F4USChampionship.com.