F4 U.S. and FR Americas host penultimate rounds at Homestead

Image by Gavin Baker

F4 U.S. and FR Americas host penultimate rounds at Homestead

SCCA / SportsCar Magazine

F4 U.S. and FR Americas host penultimate rounds at Homestead

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The Honda Powered Formula 4 United States Championship and Formula Regional Americas Championship continue their Florida swing, heading south from Sebring to Homestead-Miami Speedway for a triple round of racing from both series October 2-4. (Watch live)

Blending the NASCAR circle track with the open-wheel road course, the Roval configuration was a unique add to the FR Americas and F4 U.S. Championships’ amended 2020 schedules.

The penultimate championship event marks FR Americas inaugural race on the Roval, and F4 U.S. first visit since 2017.

However, in 2017, the junior championship ran the modified road course which included NASCAR Turn 3 and 4, but during the track’s FIA reinspection, that configuration was not recertified for the F4 U.S. and FR Americas cars.

Instead, this season, the championships will take to the 2.1825-mile, 15-turn full road course which integrates the banked front and back straight of the NASCAR oval. The amended circuit will now offer four long straights, promoting drafting that leads into heavy braking zones.

F4 U.S. Championship (Entry List)

Close wheel-to-wheel battles with stout competition throughout the field has always been a hallmark of the F4 U.S. program. In the last two events, race finishes were decided by only four hundredths of a second, and as the championship nears the end, a difference between a first and second place result, could be the difference in claiming the title.

Following his three-race sweep at Sebring International Raceway last weekend, Hunter Yeany leads the championship chase by 90 points ahead of second-place Dylan Tavella (144 points). Even with a sizeable lead over Tavella, Yeany hasn’t clinched the championship just yet. (Championship Points)

With six races left in the season, 150 points are still in play, creating a five-way bid for the 2020 title and the year-end scholarship to move into FR Americas for 2021.

“I competed at Homestead in a winter series over the winter and tested here before the restrictions,” said Yeany. “It’s a technical track, but I am confident that we can win here. The big picture has always been the championship, we take each event one race at a time.”

Third place in the championship chase is in a deadlock between Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsport teammates Spike Kohlbecker and Jose Blanco, both with 110 points a piece.

Kohlbecker is ready for redemption at Homestead following a tough outing at Sebring. With mechanical problems plaguing most of his Sebring weekend, Kohlbecker is hyper focused to get back into the winners circle at Homestead. Setting the fastest time in his run group, third overall, in the opening practice Friday morning with a fast-time of 1:30.385-seconds, Kohlbecker is wasting no time getting up to speed for Saturday’s qualifying session.

Blanco earned valuable points at Sebring with a career drive that saw him go from pole, to last place, to nearly taking the victory in the opening round. The Puerto Rican pilot set two records along the way, breaking his own track record in qualifying that he set the year before and also the closest one, two, three finish in F4 history with the podium results decided by just .194-seconds.

Slotted in fifth, Cade McKee, mathematically still has a chance at the title with 95 points. Driving for Iron Rock Motorsports, McKee is the only driver in the F4 field on a single car team. Earning three podiums (two at Sebring) and the Omologato Watch Perfectly Timed Move of the Race, the rookie has made huge gains since the beginning of the season.

FR Americas (Entry List)

 Dominating the championship from the beginning of the 2020 season, Linus Lundqvist opened up a significant lead in the chase for the 2020 FR Americas title. In nearly a perfect season with 10 wins in 11 races, the Global Racing Group rookie has a shot this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway to wrap up the championship and clinch the coveted Indy Lights scholarship to run with a Honda supported team in 2021.

But, with such a huge prize on the line, Lundqvist seemed unphased at the thought of confirming his championship early.

“I would lie if I said it hasn’t crossed my mind, and it would be fantastic to seal the title this weekend, but it’s really not something I’m focusing on,” said Lundqvist. “I still want to win every race one by one, and I will take exactly the same approach into this weekend as I have done in previous races.”

Though Lundqvist was thought to be unbeatable, even Goliath fell, and the scholarship contract has not been signed just yet. Respectively, both David Malukas and Victor Franzoni still have a chance at the title with 150 points still available in the remaining six FR Americas races. (Championship Points)

Malukas has been a thorn in Lundqvist’s side since the start of the season. With three second-place finishes and five third-place results, Malukas’ big break came last week at Sebring, with a win in the opening race. The HMD Motorsports rookie was well on his way to a second victory the following day until a spin late in the race scrapped his podium chances. He salvaged the race, recovering for a points finish.

Malukas is second in the championship with 174 points, 84 points behind Lundqvist. He will need a strong weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but unlike Lundqvist, Malukas has turned dozens of practice laps here in other open wheel cars.

Franzoni has also went head-to-head with the Swedish pilot several times throughout the season. With three second-place finishes (two at Sebring), and a confidence-boosting weekend at Sebring, Franzoni is on the verge of a breakthrough weekend in FR Americas.

“I’m super excited after the performance we had at Sebring. Homestead is a very technical track and it’s not going be easy for anyone, but the way we’re developing and working, I’m sure we are going to be strong and try to fight for the win!”

In morning practice, Lundqvist posted a flyer of 1m22.350s. Newman Wachs Racing’s Franzoni was close behind with a 1m22.558s lap, edging out Malukas by 0.014s.

Following official practices on Friday drivers will qualify on Saturday in the morning (F4 9:00 a.m.; FR Americas 11:30 a.m. Eastern) and will stage Race 1 in the afternoon (F4 12:50 p.m.; FR 2:50 p.m. Eastern). The weekend will culminate on Sunday with two races from each series (F4 9:00 a.m., 1:30 p.m.; FR 11:00 a.m., 4:00 p.m. Eastern).

Live timing and scoring will be available on the Race Monitor App.

Races from both series will be live streamed on FanRacing.Live

For more information, visit F4USChampionship.com or FRAmericas.com.

F4 Practice Results

FR Americas Practice Results

 

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