Bryson Morris, the 17-year-old from Mt. Juliet, Tenn., secured his second career win at NOLA Motorsports Park on Sunday morning in the Formula 4 United States Championship Powered by Honda (F4 U.S.). Driving the No. 39 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F4, Morris overtook the lead with just four laps to go to secure the race win over Matt Christensen in the No. 45 Velocity Racing Development Ligier JS F4.
Lochie Hughes (No. 6 Jay Howard Driving Development Ligier JS F4) started on the pole after winning Race 1, but fell to third as a battle broke out between Morris and Christensen while working lap 2. Christensen secured the lead just before a mid-race red flag, and opened up a nearly three-second lead once the race returned to green. Morris set a steady pace on his Hankook Tires, focusing on hitting his marks, and slowly started to close the gap between drivers.
Morris was able to get side-by-side with Christensen coming off of Turn 16 and set up a drag race down the front straightaway as they completed lap 14 and raced toward Turn 1. The Tennessee driver remained calm, focused on his own race and slowly drove away from Christensen. By the time they crossed the line to take the checkered flag, Morris had opened up a 2.923-second advantage.
Noah Ping, driver of the No. 65 Velocity Racing Development Ligier JS F4, steadily climbed through the field to finish third and complete the podium after starting sixth. Ryan Shehan (No. 66 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F4) was fourth. Hughes finished fifth.
“It was a really good race,” said Morris as he climbed from the car. “Matt was really far ahead, and I didn’t think I had him. I was just kinda going in second place. Then, I noticed that I was closing the gap slowly, and eventually I got there. I’m just super happy to take the win.”
Nicholas Rivers secured his first career Formula 4 United States Championship Powered by Honda (F4 U.S.) victory in the final race of the weekend at NOLA Motorsports Park. Rivers raced with F4 U.S. in 2020, but took a year off before returning to the series for the season opener this weekend in the No. 24 Velocity Racing Development Ligier JS F4.
Rivers rolled off third when the lights went out at NOLA and quickly set his pace, moving into second-place after the completion of the first lap and overtaking the lead by Lap 3. His race didn’t go without challenges though, as he endured two restarts and a late-race charge from teammate Noah Ping in the No. 65 Velocity Racing Development Ligier JS F4.
Rivers held the top position until lap 11 when Ping passed him. However, Rivers was able to work past Ping while racing through the esses on the final lap, lap 13, to sail away toward the checkered flag.
Ping was initially scored second, but dropped to 13th following a stewards decision for causing a collision.
As a result, Lochie Hughes, who initially finished third in his No. 6 Jay Howard Driver Development Ligier JS F4, moved to second on the final results. Alex Berg was officially scored as the third-place finisher in his No. 08 Doran-Kroll Competition Ligier JS F4, earning his first podium of the weekend.
Matt Christensen (No. 45 Velocity Racing Development Ligier JS F4) entered the race as the points leader, but had a rough race after his car had clutch issues following a red flag. As a result, he had to restart the race from the back of the pack on lap 10. Christensen ultimately worked his way past five cars and back up to the 12th position before the checkered flag waved. While provisional results made it look like Christensen would not earn points for the race, he moved into 10th-place on the final results and earned one point toward the championship.