From Pawleys Island,Sc- June 27th, 2017- The Gpfour Northeast Series finished up the Watkins Glen leg with Elliot Finlayson pulling off the very difficult hat trick by winning his 3rd race in a row. The Gpfour series runs the Spec Formula Enterprises Van Diemen chassis with Mazda power and American Racer tires. Every race this year has been a close battle at the front but this weekend at Watkins Glen everyone was basically running for 2nd place. The Finlayson team with crew chief Bob Finlayson and driver Elliot were a force to be reckoned with this weekend as no one was even close to their performance. I spoke with Elliot’s father Bob at length throughout the weekend and I was just curious how they managed to do the impossible in the series, separate themselves from the rest of the field in qualifying and both races. He really didn’t divulge many secrets other then his son is very good. They run a very simple program and don’t spend a lot of money but they certainly concentrate on the details and Elliot drives the wheels off the car. Bob said that he had never worked on a formula car before this year as his background was in the sedan class as he built and raced a Corvette prototype himself. He obviously learns quickly as they are the ones to beat at each event they go to. He did tell me that they are only on their 2nd set of American Racer tires for the entire season! as they started the race Sunday with tires that they won the race at Road America the weekend before. These tires are getting durability like no one has ever seen. Well whatever the case they are doing a great job and sure to be the favorite at the Runoffs at Indianapolis later this year.
The 2nd race was a bit of a sleeper for the lead as Elliot drove off into the Sunset to win , but the battle for 2nd made up for any action we missed at the front. Quinten Nelson in the Alliance Autosport entry was running in 2nd for much of the race but it was not easy by any means as he had newcomer Alex Scaler right on him and Motion Dynamics pilot Joe Sammut right on Scalers’s gearbox. Joe really showed his experience as he set back and watched the two drivers ahead of him go at it and waited for his chance to take the lead spot. Joe experienced some handling issues in Saturdays race but the Motion Dynamics team must have made the correct changes because Sammut was right there and looking solid as he made the pass into 2nd spot dropping Quinten to 3rd. Joe was putting down some solid lap times as he came very close to the times that the leader Finlayson was doing. He held the position for a couple laps until they encountered some traffic and Sammut made a high speed spin from the track to end his chance for 2nd. It was so crucial for Sammut to finish ahead of Scaler as the championship points for the GPfour northeast are very tight with only 1 weekend remaining on the schedule at New Jersy in July. Regardless of where Joe finished in todays race he had to be happy with his performance showing that he can compete with the best in the class. The youngster Scaler finished with another fine 3rd place just behind Quinten Nelson who ended up grabbing another 2nd place trophy. The two were really racing hard but had nothing for Finlayson all weekend. I expect both Nelson, Scaler and Sammut will be in the hunt if they make the race at Indianapolis for the National championship.
Another driver who traveled from Georgia to race at the famed Watkins Glen Circuit was John Mcaleer. He had one of his best finishes of the season in 4th place as he really adapted well to Watkins Glen circuit. He was doing competitive times in the race but he was separated from the pack at the beginning which kept him from challenging for the 2nd spot with the other group ahead of him. The Comprent Motorsports driver had to be happy with this 4th place as the season winds down throughout the country. Keith McDonald had a respectable top five finish which will keep him close in the points and the Zerlin duo made the repairs on Adam Zerlin’s car after his shunt on Saturday to also make Sundays race.
What a beautiful weekend for racing at Watkins Glen as my massive Road trip comes to end . It started at Indianapolis a couple weeks earlier and then to Road America and finally Watkins glen. I am thrilled to be involved with the GPfour championship and I am really happy with the growth the series has experienced these past two seasons. I can only think that things will get better each time out as we gain more and more drivers who are coming to the class because they know that its mostly down to the driver skill and not the amount of money that you spend. We have many things planned for the balance of 2017 and we look forward to having a great year . You can following the championship on the series website www.gpfourinfo.com as we now have 3 different regional championships . We really appreciate everyone who is supporting the class and look forward to championship at Indy.