Callum Hedge added to his Formula Regional Americas points lead at New Jersey Motorsports Park, but only had six other drivers to race against.
In qualifying Hedge had an advantage of 0.614 seconds over Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsport team-mate Ryan Shehan in second place, with Jensen Global Advisors’ Oliver Westing 0.728s off the pace in third and Cooper Becklin (Crosslink/Kiwi) 0.909s behind in fourth.
Westling and his team had yet to make the podium this season, but they managed to stand on the top step in race one of the weekend.
Hedge and Shehan ran side-by-side at the start, and were not paying attention to those behind them. Westling took to the inside and passed both before the opening corner, and Hayden Bowlsbey – from fifth on the grid – followed him to get into second place.
He was back behind Hedge at turn two, then when Shehan tried to regain a position he made contact with Bowlsbey which sent him off. Stewards decided to penalise Shehan 30s for the incident.
Westling and Hedge did not have a proper battle for the lead after that, with Westling doing just enough to always keep Hedge far enough way for him to not attempt an overtake. They finished 0.516s apart, with Hedge’s seven-race winning run coming to an end.
Shehan dropped back but was comfortable in third, and although the penalty dropped him to fourth he was still classified over 18s ahead of the debuting Nicole Havrda in fifth. Havrda signed to contest the full season with JMF Motorsport, but missed the first three rounds and instead finally made her debut with Crosslink/Kiwi.
Becklin was the driver who inherited Shehan’s third place, and by setting the fastest lap he also took pole for race two. Once again it only took a few corners for the race to be decided,
Shehan and Becklin fought for the lead off the line, and it was Shehan who managed to get ahead into turn one. Hedge passed Westling for third, then also cleared Becklin exiting turn one. At turn three he dived down the inside of Shehan for the lead, and never looked back.
Hedge’s finished 2.43s ahead for his eighth win of the season, while Becklin finished third after Westling spun on lap three. Impressively he rebounded, making up the time he lost to Becklin and by the end of the race challenging him for position too. He finished just 0.241s behind in fourth.
In race three, Hedge returned to dominant form to win by 12.504s over Westling. Becklin was another 11.239s behind him, and Shehan was almost a minute back in sixth place.
It is now a four-way title fight with two rounds to go, and Hedge is 55 points clear of Shehan.
Race 1 (22 laps)
1 Oliver Westling Jensen Global Advisors 29m45.438s
2 Callum Hedge Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsport +0.516s
3 Cooper Becklin Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsport +13.018s
4 Ryan Shehan Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsport +36.741s
5 Nicole Havrda Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsport +54.980s
6 Hayden Bowlsbey IGY6 Motorsports +59.419s
Ret Max Hewitt Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsport
Pole: Hedge, 1m18.321s
Fastest lap: Becklin, 1m19.754s
Race 2 (23 laps)
1 Hedge 31m02.607s
2 Shehan +2.430s
3 Becklin +5.513s
4 Westling +5.754s
5 Hewitt +39.779s
6 Bowlsbey +1 lap
FL: Hedge, 1m19.031s
Race 3 (20 laps)
2 Westling +12.504s
3 Becklin +23.743s
4 Hewitt +24.619s
5 Havrda +24.895s
6 Shehan +59.516s
7 Bowlsbey +1 lap
FL: Bowlsbey, 1m19.838s
1 Hedge 266 2 Shehan 211 3 Becklin 168 4 Westling 130 5 Manuel Roza 82 6 Bryson Morris 62 7 Bowlsbey 61 8 Nick Persing 52 9 Hewitt 46 10 Austin Hill 28