- 19 February 2015
Noblesville, IN – Chastain Motorsports fielded four F1600 entries and expanded its operation to F2000, running a total of five cars at the recent Palm Beach Grand Prix, a winter exhibition event in South Florida in preparation for the 2015 Formula Race Promotions season.
Having won three F1600 Formula F Championship Series races in 2014 with three different drivers, Chastain Motorsports went from having a single entry at the season-opener last year to four signed drivers for 2015 taking part in the F1600 exhibition race. The drivers included Kyle Kirkwood, Andy Lewis, Will Harvey and Parker Chase.
Sam Chastain moved up from the F1600 Championship to the F2000 Championship Series in the team’s F2000-spec Van Diemen.
The F1600 race was a dramatic event, with Kirkwood storming to the race lead and battling with Jordan Cane and veteran racer Tonis Kasemets. The lead wouldn’t last, however, as Kirkwood and Cane made contact while fighting for first place in turn one. The Palm Beach native, however, recovered to finish fifth and set the fastest race lap in the process at 1:19.885.
Teammate Parker Chase finished sixth in a similar Mygale/Honda, running the third fastest race lap at 1:20.014.
The race was tough for both Will Harvey and Andy Lewis. Harvey spun on the opening lap and settled for a tenth place result, while Lewis made an unscheduled visit to pit road and treated the race as a test session.
“The event was great,” said team driver coach and engineer Jay Howard. “I hope the Series puts this event on every year, it was well worth the trip. I am extremely optimistic for the season; it's going to be even more competitive than last year.”
On the F2000 side of the team, Sam Chastain ran valuable laps in his Van Diemen F2000 car, adjusting to the move up the ladder and the introduction of more aerodynamics in the form of front and rear wings. The team had to battle through electrical issues that saw Chastain retire from the race.
Now the team heads back to its base in Noblesville, Indiana, and has just under two months to prepare for the opening races of the season at Road Atlanta, April 10-12. F1600 will run its first ever triple-header weekend, as it expands its schedule to 21 races on seven weekends for 2015. F2000 will see a traditional double-header weekend to start the 14-race points-paying schedule.