Watkins Glen, NY – Calvin Ming, Steve Bamford and Ryan Norman won Sunday F1600, F2000 and Atlantic races at Watkins Glen International, while Phillippe Denes took top honors in the third and final F1600 race of the weekend.
F1600 Morning Race
Calvin Ming won the morning F1600 race at Watkins Glen on Sunday in the No. 82 Team Pelfrey Mygale, leading the final two laps of the timed event to the checkered flag ahead of Neil Verhagen and Saturday winner Phillippe Denes in an action-packed round five of the 2016 season. Steve Bamford won the Masters Class with a fourth place finish, ahead of Max Mallinen in fifth place.
“I was just trying to keep my head down, keep my marks, and minimize my mistakes,” said Ming. “In the end it worked out. It was definitely a good battle. I would like to thank Team Pelfrey on a great car this weekend.”
With Denes leading from pole at the drop of the green, Ming moved up from the second row to slot in behind his teammate exiting turn one as the field charged up the hill at Watkins Glen.
The Team Pelfrey duo then worked together to open a gap back to Bamford and Verhagen, who ran third and fourth, respectively, in the opening laps. That lead was brought down to zero, however, when the safety car was deployed for a full-course caution for an incident involving Mike Scanlan, Dan Pyanowski and Ryan Bjerke.
With cleanup done, the green flag came back out, with Ming challenging Denes in turn one, and Bamford taking the inside line, three-wide, and powering into the lead. The shuffling continued with two laps to go, as Ming took the lead back and Verhagen closed and made his way to second for K-Hill. At the white flag, Ming led Denes with Verhagen closely following.
Ming led to the checkered for the victory, while Verhagen got back around Denes for second place.
Bamford and Mallinen, who started 11th, completed the top five. Ben Auriemma raced from 13th to sixth, while his Exclusive Autsoport teammate Will Harvey made his way from 12th to seventh. Of note, Peter Portante retired with a suspension failure.
While Bamford won the Masters Class, Joel Haas and Thomas Schwietz were second and third in the class, respectively.
F1600 Afternoon Race
From pole, Steve Bamford led all laps to win round four of the 2016 F2000 season on Sunday afternoon at Watkins Glen. Bamford led a hard-charging David Grant on the initial start, and fended off an attack on a restart to win his third race of the season and extend his points lead. Grant finished second for Polestar, while John McCusker charged to third late in the race for the final podium spot in cold weather conditions.
Grant finished second to score more points in the No. 29 Spectrum, a nice bounce back after a rough result on Saturday when his race ended with damage.
McCusker made moves late in the race and caught Grant but couldn’t get by, finishing third in the Dotworks Racing Van Diemen.
Weitzenhof, who won pole on Saturday, started second and settled for fourth, while Davy D’Addario put in his best drive to date with a strong fifth place finish in the No. 37 Van Diemen.
Saturday winner Matt McDonough ran as high as third but fell back to sixth, where he eventually finished in the No. 69 Radon Sport entry.
Tim Paul charged through the field from last to finish seventh for Screaming Monkey Racing in the No. 06 Screaming Monkey Racing Van Diemen.
Jayson Clunie, who finished second in Saturday’s rain race, was eighth, followed by Robert Wright and Bob Reid.
The race saw a full-course caution period for an incident involving Chris Gumprecht and Jenna Grillo, sidelining both drivers.
Ryan Norman, driving the No. 48 Swift 016/Mazda for K-Hill Motorsports, took the lead from the outside front row on lap one, and never looked back, taking his third victory of 2016 in Sunday’s race at Watkins Glen. Keith Grant started on pole and finished second in the No. 40 Swift 016/Mazda from Polestar while Bruce Hamilton won the Atlantic Challenge in a K-Hill fielded Swift 014/Toyota.
“It was a great start, I made the pass in the esses and almost (crashed) going through the bus stop motocross style on the curbs,” said Norman, who extends a quickly growing Atlantic points lead by sweeping rounds three and four of the 14-race season.
Polestar’s Grant finished second after another strong qualifying performance.
“Ryan put on a show jumping the curbs through the bus stop, I thought he was going to lose it,” Grant noted.
Lee Alexander put in a strong performance to finish third despite a quickly developing mis-fire ahead of Comprent Motorsports’ teammate Rich Zober in the No. 66.
Completing the top five was Kirk Kindsfater, bouncing back after a rough race on Saturday.
While Hamilton swept the weekend in Atlantic Challenge, the focus was on the race for second in Sunday’s event.
Mark Sherwood, in his RT-41/Toyota, tracked down John Burke’s Swift 014/Toyota for the position, with the two swapping second back and forth, and Bob Corliss arriving to make it a three car scrap for the position. Burke ended up off course mid-way through the race, leaving Sherwood to grab a strong second place finish in class ahead of Comprent’s Corliss.
Connor Burke and Dudley Fleck, who scored a second place trophy on Saturday, both failed to finish.