In a busy month of March, it was the second event weekend for Jay Howard Driver Development (JHDD) as the race season is officially underway. Competing in St. Petersburg, Florida two weekends ago, the potent program returned to NOLA Motorsports Park for the opening round of the F4 United States Championship Powered by Honda and while the team showed great speed, results did not match the pace of the championship-winning program.
“The pace was exceptional from all of our drivers, we qualified in the pole position for all three races and scored several of the fastest race laps, but in terms of actual race results, we fell a little short,” explained Jay Howard. “Car racing is different to karts, the drivers learned a lot, it was a great learning experience, and we will move on to Road America and apply the knowledge gained as a team.”
Qualifying saw three Jay Howard Driver Development drivers in the top-ten with Michael Costello leading the way and earning the pole position for the first wheel-to-wheel action of the season. Costello had a blistering lap to earn the inside front row starting position by a massive .466 margin over his closest rival. Logan Adams and Frankie Mossman clocked the ninth and tenth quickest laps of the session to share row five while Dane Scott, Eric Wisniewski, Tanner DeFabis, and Michael Boyiadzis would all look to move forward.
When the lights went out for race one, Costello was jumped by the outside front-row starter falling back into the clutches of several other F4 competitors. After a tire puncture during the opening circuit, the pole position winner was forced to pit while Mossman went from tenth to third in the opening few laps. Running P3, Mossman dropped a wheel and went into the grass falling down the running order. In the end, it was Michael Boyiadzis who avoided the carnage throughout the ten-lap race to advance from 23rd to seventh to earn JHDD’s best result. Tanned Defabis maintained his P16 starting spot and gained one position to finish 15th on track as Mossman recovered to finish 18th. Both Eric Wisniewski and Dane Scott completed the full race distance but not in the position where they would have liked while Costello was a lap behind the leaders due to his pit stop. Unfortunately, Logan Adams was a victim of some on track action and failed to finish.
It was a pair of drivers in the top-ten at the end of race two as Michael Costello battled for a podium result early on before eventually finishing in the fourth position while Frankie Mossman rebounded from a disappointing result in race one to earn a tenth-place finish in race two. Drivers in the top-ten battled hard throughout the ten-lap race and it was more of a game of chess than ever in the 30-plus driver field. Dane Scott earned his best result of the weekend with a solid drive to the 13th position while Wisniewski and Defabis ran into issues but completed the full race distance, just ahead of Michael Boyiadzis and Logan Adams as the quartet aimed to better their finishes in race three.
It was a pair of JHDD drivers in the top-five at the conclusion of race three and one on the podium as Michael Costello led the way for the Indiana based program. Finishing just 1.411 behind the eventual race winner, Costello celebrated on the podium with a P2 result as Frankie Mossman drove to a fifth-place finish for the team. It was Tanner Defabis that finished just outside the top-15 in 18th, as Dane Scott was 22nd, and Eric Wisniewski in 27th.
“We had some strong runs but also some bad luck,” expressed Team Owner Jay Howard. “It is great to see the growth of the series from the end of last year to the start of this season which increases the competition and makes us be on our game just that much more.”
For more information on Jay Howard’s Driver Development program, follow them on social media by searching ‘Jay Howard Driver Development’ or contact Jay Howard via e-mail at Jay@JayHoward.com or visit him online at www.JayHoward.com.
Photos: Gavin Baker Photography