It was nearly a perfect weekend for rookie driver Jason Alder as the Velocity Racing Development driver shocked the F4 United States Championship Powered by Honda paddock scoring victories in rounds one and two and earning a second-place podium result in round three this past weekend. Leaving the famed Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta facility as the point leader, Alder was at the pointy end of the grid in both wet and dry weather action as he turned heads in his series debut.
“What a weekend,” exclaimed Alder. “I was expecting to come here and battle in the top-five and learn as I go but to leave with three podiums, two of the race wins and the points lead is an incredible feeling. I have learned so much in the past three months, and even more this weekend. I can't wait until the next event to prove that this was not a fluke.”
After a weather-filled Promoters Test Day provided Alder with only wet weather laps during his first trip to Road Atlanta, the VRD driver was looking to turn up the wick on Friday for qualifying. In a more than two-hour delay for track maintenance, the F4 grid was able to complete a twenty-minute practice before rocketing straight into qualifying later that afternoon. With little dry time on one of North America's most challenging tracks, Alder showed veteran-like abilities in his drive to a front-row starting spot for his debut race.
“It has been tough to tell where we are with the car as we have had very little dry running,” explained Alder. “We did not get many green flag laps due to the long red-flag stop in the middle of our session so I knew that I would have to push hard in the last six minutes. I was unable to get a draft on my quick lap, but I had no time to waste so I just went for it. It could have been the difference between first and second, but I am still overjoyed with the outcome.”
Returning to the track on Saturday for the first two official wheel-to-wheel races of the season, Alder proved that his qualifying pace was no joke. Swapping the lead on several occasions with a fellow competitor, Alder took the point for good on the final circuit and drove to the victory, his first behind the wheel of an F4 machine in the first race of the season. Earning the fastest lap of the race, Alder also secured the race two pole position and preferred starting position for round two.
Falling to second in the opening stint of the second race, Alder again showed his poise as he continuously stalked the leader for the first portion of the event. Making his bid for the lead with six minutes remaining, the Maryland-based driver successfully took over the point and drove off to victory, his second of the day.
“I am still learning with each passing lap,” explained Alder. “I just needed to be patient and make the move count when I could. I could not have done this without the continued support of my friends, family, and of course Velocity Racing Development.”
Round three on Sunday would start under damp conditions as rain moved through the area in the morning. Not a complete washout, but enough to slow drivers five or more seconds per lap, it was a bit of a tip-toe affair for the opening few laps. Starting on the outside of the front row, Alder maintained his position until the caution flew on lap four. With the green flying again on the seventh circuit, Alder moved to the point only to be shuffled back to third a lap later, just before the caution would fly once again. With time running out, Alder was able to advance to the second position in the one-lap green-flag dash to the finish, crossing the line a scant .545 behind the eventual race winner.
With a double victory and triple podium performance, Jason Alder leaves Road Atlanta and the first three rounds as the F4 United States Championship Powered by Honda as the point leader.
For more information on Jason Alder, please visit him online at www.IAmJasonAlder.com. To keep up to date with news, photos, results, and information on Jason, please follow him on social media by searching ‘@IamJasonAlder’.