Braselton, GA – Ten cars were in a position to win round three of the 2016 F1600 Series on the last lap at Road Atlanta, with Max Mallinen playing race craft to his advantage to take his first career victory to close out the weekend ahead of Steve Bamford and Calvin Ming.
“It’s been an interesting weekend, and I’m happy to end it on top,” said Mallinen, who drives the No. 10 Spectrum for Swan Motorsports. “I ate the wall a bit in qualy on Saturday and had to start last in the first race. Coming into the last lap I was in second and I knew I could pull a draft on the back stretch.”
Bamford made it another Masters Class win and three podiums in F1600 in two days with a second place finish for Rice Race Prep. The Series veteran led in all three F1600 races races.
Team Pelfrey’s Ming didn’t make it easy for Mallinen, as he challenged the No. 10 in turn 12 coming to the checkered flag, but couldn’t make an aggressive move stick, and just barely lost second to Bamford by inches. Of note, Ming charged through the field to finish third after starting last due to a pace lap spin. Air temperature at the race start was just 42 degrees.
“I was trying to get heat in the tires and made a mistake,” noted Ming. “The last lap was crazy, we were four- and five-wide, it was a good race by everyone.”
Trenton Estep finished fourth in his Spectrum from Exclusive Autosport ahead of Neil Verhagen, Saturday’s round two winner from K-Hill Motorsports.
The race’s opening stint was dominated by Phillippe Denes from Team Pelfrey, who was able to pull out a 3.4 second gap after separating from the field on lap three. Denes looked to be in control of the pace but went off at turn five, which took a strung out lead group and turned it into a pack race for the win. Denes finished sixth ahead of K-Hill’s Hans Ada in seventh.
Ben Auriemma led his first laps of the season and finished eighth, followed by Exclusive Autosport teammate Will Harvey, while Ryan Bjerke completed the top ten.
Mike Scalan and Doug Voss completed the Masters Class podium.
Full results from all three series are available on www.F1600Series.com, www.F2000Series.com, and www.AtlanticChampionshipSeries.com.
Next up is weekend two of seven, scheduled to take place Watkins Glen International, May 13-15.