Ryan Shehan has back-to-back wins in his first two Formula Regional Americas Championship Powered by Honda (FR Americas) starts, as he took the win in Race 2 at NOLA Motorsports Park on Sunday morning. Keeping his No. 66 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3 at the front of the field from lights to checkered, Shehan won the race in dominating fashion.
“That definitely wasn’t easy,” said Shehan from the podium. “Nick was right behind me the whole first half; then I saw him just pull over—I’m not sure what happened. From there, it was just me and Cooper [Becklin]. I just did my best to maintain the gap to Cooper, and was able to get away with the win. I have to thank Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport; sweeping the podium just shows how strong of a team they are.”
Nick Persing (No. 29 OPI Commercial Builders Inc. Ligier JS F3) applied pressure to Shehan during the early laps of the race, not allowing Shehan to pull more than a half-second gap on the field. However, while working the seventh lap of the race, Persing suffered a mechanical issue that forced him to pull off the track and into a safe location, which allowed the field to avoid a caution.
With Persing’s misfortune, Shehan automatically doubled his lead over second place as he raced nearly a full second ahead of Cooper Becklin (No. 19 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3), who advanced to the second position. Becklin started the race in the third position and quietly hit his marks every lap to hold position.
Teammates Bryson Morris (No. 39 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3) and Callum Hedge (No. 17 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3) were left to battle it out for the third and final position on the podium. Morris initially held the advantage, but a pass by Hedge in Turn 4 with just over three minutes left on the clock ultimately left Morris on the outside looking in.
Shehan crossed the line first on his Hankook tires, followed by Becklin and Hedge, marking the first team sweep of the season with Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport claiming the top four finishing positions.
SEE MORE: Race 2 Official Results
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RACE 2 STREAM: FR Americas YouTube
Callum Hedge victorious in NOLA finale for FR Americas
New Zealander Callum Hedge took his first win in the Formula Regional Americas Championship Powered by Honda on Sunday afternoon in the final race of the weekend at NOLA Motorsports Park. Making his FR Americas debut, the driver steadily improved throughout the weekend with a sixth-place finish in Race 1 and third-place finish in Race 2 before finally climbing atop the podium in Race 3.
Hedge (No. 17 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3) lined up side-by-side with teammate Cooper Becklin (No. 19 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3), who was in the point position, on the starting grid. It was clear that everyone was there to win, as both Hedge and third-place Nick Persing (No. 29 OPI Commercial Builders Inc. Ligier JS F3) got a clean jump on the start and immediately went three-wide racing down the front stretch. Hedge pulled ahead to take the lead as the group entered Turn 1 and never looked back.
Meanwhile, Persing, who was competing in his sixth race of the weekend across both FR Americas and Radical Cup North America competition, settled into second.
The real action surrounded the battle for third, where with just 10 minutes remaining in the race, a matter of car lengths separated Becklin, Ryan Shehan (No. 66 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3), Bryson Morris (No. 39 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3) and Manuel Roza (No. 12 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3). Becklin led the train for most of the battle, but a mechanical issue heading into Turn 2 with just over three minutes remaining in the race allowed Shehan to pull around.
As the checkered flag waved, Hedge crossed the line first on his Hankook tires, with Persing in second and Shehan claiming third.
READ MORE: Race 3 Official Results
At the conclusion of the race, Shehan was named the winner of the Omologato Perfectly Timed Move of the Race for his consistent performance throughout the weekend, with two wins and three podium finishes. As part of the award, he was presented with a bespoke Omologato timepiece.
FR Americas is back on May 19-21 for the Road America SpeedTour where they will contest Rounds 4-6 of their 2023 season. Tickets for the event in Elkhart Lake, Wis., are available now at RoadAmerica.com. For updates before our next event, follow FR Americas on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
RACE 3 STREAM: SpeedTourTV YouTube