Starrantino passed Jake Eidson on the back straight on the last lap to take the win by three tenths. Steve Bamford finished third.
Adrian Starrantino started from pole but traded the lead back and forth countless times with multiple cars to eventually win in the No. 98 Mygale/Honda for Bryan Herta Autosport in the opening round of F1600 Formula F Championship Series season in a dramatic race.
The race was shortened in part by an early full course caution and eventual red flag for Mike Scanlan and Caitlin Johnston, who came together on the opening lap. Both drivers were okay but the crash required extensive clean-up, giving the field just a handful of laps of green flag again around VIRginia International Raceway as the race officials declared a time race (12 laps, or 30 minutes).
When the green flag dropped again, Starrantino, Eidson and Bamford separated themselves from the pack along with Aaron Telitz
After swapping the lead back and forth, Eidson led to the white flag in the Spectrum/Honda for Cape Motorsports while Telitz was looking for the lead as well – but slid off on the last lap in turn one in the WISKO Mygale/Honda. That lead pack also spent time bumpdrafting and interlocking wheels around the 17-turn VIR in another great F1600 race – picking up on where the Series left off in 2012.
“I knew we had a good car,” said the 18-year-old Starrantino, in just his third F1600 start. “With the red flag we adjusted our strategy and then traded the lead back and forth. Jake led to the last lap but I knew I had a shot on the back straight.”
Eidson finished second by less than a car length in his dramatic F1600 debut for Cape Motorsports.
“Every lap we were trading the lead back and forth. It was a matter of positioning on the last lap,” added the American.
Steve Bamford took the Masters Class victory, finishing third in the Rice Race Prep Mygale/Honda, and also competing in the weekend’s F2000 Championship Series rounds.
“It was a busy day with two cars, I think the WISKO car missed a shift on the last lap,” Bamford said. “We were going back and forth for the lead, what a great race.”
Telitz did finish fourth, barely holding off Jeremy Grenier. Art Foster was sixth ahead of Franklin Futrelle for Raceworks. Then it was Ayla Agren, in her Series debut, Lewis Cooper, in the first Ford-powered car for Polestar, and Joe Colasacco was tenth.
Bryan Herta Autosport newcomer Sam Chastain was shuffled to the back of the field on the opening lap and recovered to finish 11th. Tim Kautz also got sent back through the field, hanging on to finish 12th in his No. 88 Piper/Honda.
The weekend continues Sunday, April 14, with qualifying at 1:00pm local time for race two of the 2013 season, followed by a 4:00pm race start. Updates, audio and timing are available on www.f1600series.com.
source: Monty Mathisen, mathisenmedia.com