Velocity Racing Development speeds into an amazing start of the 2020 racing season this past weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. F4 United States Championship Powered by Honda driver Hunter Yeany scored the team’s first win and first podium result in his first start of the season as the rain shortened race was only green for a couple of corners. Rookie competitors Kyffin Simpson and Erik Evans checked off many of their goals as all three VRD drivers ran inside the top-ten throughout the race weekend.
Starting from the second position for race one, Yeany spun his wheels off the line and lost the drag race to the first corner. With contact between competitors behind him, the track would go caution and never go back green again within the shortened fifteen-minute event. Claiming the third position on track, Yeany was elevated to the race win after the top two competitors were found to have non-compliant and performance enhancing equipment.
Teammates and fellow F4 rookie drivers Kyffin Simpson and Erik Evans put three VRD drivers in the top-ten as Simpson rocketed forward five positions to finish ninth while Evans gained three positions to come home tenth in a race that eventually ended under yellow flag conditions.
“It was good to take the win but ultimately winning after a WhatsApp message from the stewards does not feel the same, and we really hope for the politics to stop before the next race and just get back to racing,” explained Dan Mitchell. “Better results for both Kyffin and Erik could have been available if they positioned themselves better in qualifying after the red flag. It’s important we master qualifying so we can get all three boys upfront in F4 and that will be the goal at the next event.”
After to- ten pace in practice, FR Americas driver Mathias Soler-Obel struggled in qualifying when it counted. Falling victim to a couple yellow flag laps late in the session when his car was at its best, Soler-Obel qualified P12 and would start the first race of the 2020 season from row six. Moving forward one position in the first wheel-to-wheel action of the weekend, the Colombian driver finished 11th. With lap times from race one setting the grid for race two, the championship hopeful would look for more on Sunday starting from the thirteenth position.
As race day number two rolled around, the second FR Americas event started without a hitch with Soler-Obel looking to attack from the 13th position and moving up two spots by the end of the 30-minute race. Not the results the 2019 race winner hoped for, but he will look to be back on top in three weeks’ time at VIR.
Mitchell added, “FR was a disaster for us this weekend. Engine power and gear box issues destroyed Mathias of having any chance whatsoever of a good result. We will be back at VIR better and stronger than ever.”
Due to an appeal made by a contending team on the previous day exclusions, F4 US Championship driver Yeany was set to start on the pole position for race two but was relegated to P3 in accordance to the rules. Yeany held that position steadily throughout the race landing him on his second podium of the weekend with a third-place result.
“Mistakes were made on my part in both races this weekend, however, with this being my first official championship race, I am pretty pleased with the outcome,” added Yeany. “Once I fix those small mistakes we will be in a great position for the rest of the season.”
Kyffin Simpson and Erik Evans showed consistency and an improvement in skill sets as they pounded out green flag laps. With both drivers, as well as Yeany, experiencing wet weather start, dry race start and restarts from caution laps for the very first time this weekend, they all performed flawlessly bringing the cars back to the paddock in one piece and scoring six top-ten results between the three of them in the 33 car field. Simpson and Evans placed ninth and tenth respectively in round two.
Velocity Racing development will make their next on track appearance at VIRginia International Raceway July 17th through the 19th. You can follow along during race weekends via their instagram @velocity_rd and you can watch the races live at FANRacing.live.
For more information on Velocity Racing Development and to find information on how to be involved with their F4 US Championship Powered by Honda or FR Americas Championship Powered by Honda programs, please feel free to contact Daniel Mitchell via email to Dan@VelocityRacingDevelopment.com or by phone to 954.594.2686.
Photos: Gavin Baker Photography