Benjamin Pedersen may have crossed the stripe first during the F3 Americas Championship Powered by Honda finale at Road America on Saturday, but it was his Global Racing Group teammate Dakota Dickerson who won big, clinching the championship three rounds early.
Behind, Velocity Racing Development pilot Mathias Soler-Obel preserved his podium-finish streak, taking the checkered third in the all-green race.
After a tough break in Friday morning’s race, Dickerson recovered from starting in nearly last place to finishing Round 13 in second. The comeback yielded just enough points to clinch another Honda-powered SCCA Pro Racing championship for the California native. Dickerson is the defending F4 U.S. Championship title-holder, winning a scholarship valued at $230,000 to advance from F4 into F3 Americas.
“I feel fantastic right now,” Dickerson said with a huge smile. “I would love to take the credit for claiming back-to-back championships, but it’s not just me who made this happen: DC Autosport with Cape Motorsports put together a great program for me last year in F4, and the Global Racing Group guys put in a lot of hard work in the preseason that gave me a good start this year. We’ve had a fantastic season so far, but it isn’t over yet. We are shooting for three more wins at Sebring.”
Pedersen started on pole for the final race at Road America, and stayed in the P1 spot for the duration of the 35-minute session, claiming his fourth win of the season. Driving the No. 24 DirtFish Rally car that seemed to fly around the four-mile natural terrain of Road America, Pedersen built a gap of 6.934 seconds over second-place Dickerson and set the track record with a 2m04.845s on the way to victory.
While his focus is on the British BRDC F3 Championship, Pedersen serves as a substitute driver for Global Racing Group in F3 Americas. In just three events, Pedersen’s performance has moved him up to second place in the season-long points chase heading into the finale next month at Sebring International Raceway. His entry for the last three rounds is not yet confirmed.
“We worked hard yesterday to get the right set up for today’s race,” said Pedersen. “We built about a seven second gap to a pretty dominating lead. That’s exactly what we wanted and how we wanted to end the weekend.”
Colombian pilot Soler-Obel started on the point of Row 2 with Race 1 winner James Roe Jr. lined up to his outside. Soler-Obel soared off the line during the F1-style standing start, and held third for the entire race for his fifth consecutive podium finish.
The consistent top finishes have moved the Velocity Racing Development driver from fifth to third in the championship.
“I got a good start, but made a mistake in Turn 5 that allowed the top drivers to pull away, which put me out of the top-two battle,” said Soler-Obel. “My team Velocity Racing Development has put in a lot of work to get me faster and faster each race, and I’m looking forward to Sebring to challenge for another win.”
After starting fifth, John Paul Southern Jr. in the No. 61 Southern Motorsports machine made an early pass on Blake Upton to finish fourth. The one extra pass was all he needed to claim the Sabelt Hard Charger Award, adding to his five advances from Friday.
“Overall a good weekend,” said Southern. “Today was a bit less exciting than yesterday but we still got a great start and put down some solid laps. This is my first time at Road America. I really liked the course, it’s a great facility and the fans are awesome.”
Upton wheeled his bright orange No. 19 Inde Motorsports Ranch / Versium Data Analytics Ligier to his second top-five finish of the weekend, rounding out the top five.
Velocity Racing Development’s newest driver Antonio Serravalle started on the outside of Row 1. Fast all weekend, small mechanical gremlins and rookie mishaps kept the Canadian driver from finishing on the podium.
The F3 Americas Championship Powered by Honda drivers have a few weeks off before the Season 2 finale at Sebring, Sept. 13-15. For full results, event photos and post-race videos, visit F3Americas.com.