- 03 October 2012
Due to an age limit of 18 enforced by Watkins Glen International, 17-year-old Grist is unable to compete in the upcoming race. As a result, Southern-California racer Starrantino will fill the No. 97 seat for the Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb/Agajanian Mygale/Honda team.
Despite not being in the BHA car for the season finale, Grist continues to see success. He was recently chosen for the 2012 Team Canada Scholarship and will head to England on October 21 to compete in the Formula Ford Festival. He credits being part of the BHA team and Formula F Series as factors in his accomplishment and will be in attendance to cheer on his teammates for the season finale.
"I was gutted when we got the age limit news," said Grist. "Everyone at BHA and the Series worked so hard to get me in the race. I'm especially disappointed because I wanted to be there to support my teammate Brandon in his championship run. He has been incredible all season and really deserves the title. It has been a great team effort from the entire crew all year long, and even though I'm not in the points chase, I really wanted to be there for Bryan, Steve and all the guys that worked on the program. We will be cheering everyone on and looking forward to seeing the team one last time this season."
Team owner Steve Newey commented on the switch, "It's been great to work with Garett this season, so when we heard about the age restriction, we tried to find a way to make it work. It's a tough situation but parking the No. 97 just wasn't an option because of the great performance we've seen from both Mygale cars in 2012. We're glad that Adrian was willing to step up and compete alongside Brandon to finish the season strong."
Now a senior at Royal High School, 18-year-old Starrantino made his karting debut in 2004 at Willow Springs Race Track. Like both Newey and Grist, Starrantino competed in the Skip Barber Racing School. In 2011, he won the Rookie Excellence Award and placed second in the Karting Shootout. He followed that up in 2012 with four wins and 11 podiums in the Skip Barber Championship Series. The Simi Valley, California native considers the upcoming F1600 race to be the next step toward his dream of professional open wheel racing.
"I am very honored to have the opportunity to drive for Bryan Herta Autosport in the F1600 Series finale at Watkins Glen," said Starrantino. "I'd like to thank God for opening these doors for me, Skip Barber Racing School for all of their devoted advice and my parents for making this happen. Also, a special thanks to Keith Watts at Milspec Racing Development US."
The race on the 11-turn, 3.4-mile permanent road course at Watkins Glen will conclude the 2012 schedule for the F1600 series. Throughout the course of the six-race season, Mygale Honda has emerged as the premiere competitor, with three wins, ten podiums and Newey leading the championship point standings.
Once the F1600 season concludes, Newey will continue to solidify his plans for the 2013 US F2000 racing season. On October 10-11, 2012, Newey will participate in the Chris Griffis Memorial Road to Indy test with JDC Motorsports at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Starrantino will be testing then as well with Belardi Auto Racing.