Velocity Racing Development’s Nikita Johnson won the YACademy Winter Series at the Homestead-Miami Speedway roval with victory in the final race.
Johnson won two races at the Sebring season opener the previous week, but wasn’t immediately the driver to beat at Homestead as Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing protege Elliot Cox set the free practice pace and Sam Corry then claimed pole with a tow from Velocity team-mate Noah Ping in qualifying, with Johnson third behind Cox.
Race one took place later that day, and it began with contact between Cox and Johnson that also sent DEForce Racing’s Mac Clark – who had qualified fifth – to the back of the field.
Corry took the lead ahead of Ping, and they controlled the first half of the 18-lap race before red flags were waved as International Motorsport team-mates Alan Isambard and Justin Garat collided and the latter flipped.
Isambard was able to join the restarted race, which again had chaos after the green flags were waved as Corry went wide and spun away his lead. Ping moved into first and held on to win while Johnson rose up to second ahead of DC Autosport with Cape Motorsports’ Ellis Spiezia. Clark’s own recovery took him to fifth, and Corry finished sixth.
The final two races took place on Wednesday, and Future Star Racing’s David Burketh started on pole for the reversed grid race, but quickly lost the lead to DC with Cape’s Nicholas d’Orlando. Cox had got past him though before the end of lap one, and from there pulled away for a dominant win – the first in single-seaters for SFHR since Ed Carpenter won in IndyCar in 2011 – despite a safety car intervention after Garat and Gonella Racing’s Carl Bennett spun down the order.
Mechanical issues meant Johnson couldn’t challenge Cox at the restart and eventually retired, with DEForce Racing’s Jake Bonilla also ruled out by trouble with his Crawford F4-16 car.
Second place in the end went to Burketh, who was one of several drivers to squabble for position with d’Orlando late on.
Fourth place for Ping kept him in title contention, but a dominant performance from Johnson in race three made him champion.
Race 1 (18 laps)
1 Noah Ping Velocity Racing Development 36m11.079s
2 Nikita Johnson Velocity Racing Development +1.224s
3 Ellis Spiezia DC Autosport w/ Cape +3.004s
4 Arturo Flores Gonella Racing +6.706s
5 Mac Clark DEForce Racing +6.963s
6 Sam Corry Velocity Racing Development +7.608s
7 Elliot Cox Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing +7.855s
8 Nicholas d’Orlando DC Autosport w/ Cape +8.249s
9 Alan Isambard International Motorsport +8.415s
10 David Burketh Future Star Racing +12.976s
Pole: Corry, 1m29.572s
Fastest lap: Johnson, 1m30.302s
Race 2 (18 laps)
1 Cox 29m26.035s
2 Burketh +7.598s
3 Isambard +8.061s
4 Ping +12.1349s
5 d’Orlando +12.854s
6 Flores +12.895s
7 Clark +16.966s
8 Corry +17.378s
9 Spiezia +19.220s
10 Frederik Lund JHDD +22.821s
FL: Cox, 1m30.371s
Race 3 (18 laps)
1 Johnson 27m20.703s
2 Corry +3.787s
3 Ping +6.013s
4 Cox +11.504s
5 Spiezia +18.870s
6 Flores +22.638s
7 Isambard +22.981s
8 d’Orlando +23.463s
9 Clark +24.581s
10 Jake Bonilla DEForce Racing +32.489s
FL: Johnson, 1m30.118s
1 Johnson 111 2 Ping 95 3 Cox 73 4 Corry 60 5 Spiezia 53 6 d’Orlando 46 7 Isambard 43 8 Burketh 35 9 Flores 34 10 Clark 18