Racing his second season for the Lynx Racing Team (managed by Steve Cameron of Cameron Racing), 16 year-old Alex Keyes won his first two races in a Formula Pro Mazda in the Formula Car Challenge at Sonoma Raceway. Keyes raced for Lynx in the Pacific F-1600 series in 2013.
Alex’s Saturday qualifying time on the 2.52 mile track was 1.28.6 – 1.6 seconds ahead of second place. In the race, Alex maintained his fast pace and was able to smoothly work through lap traffic from the Formula Mazda and Formula Speed 2.0 classes and crossed the checkered flag with a 28 second lead.
Race Day on Sunday was a little more dramatic. Keyes again won the pole position – with everyone still on Saturday’s tires, his pace continued to be fast at 1.30.5 – almost a full second faster than second place.
However, Alex’s rear tires both showed signs of delamination after qualifying. The tires were declared unfit to race and it was eventually determined that Keyes would be able to put on two new rear tires without losing the pole position as the tire failure was deemed to be a tire defect.
While trying to scrub in his two new rear tires on the pace lap, Alex spun in turn three and although he was able to regain his starting position, it was clear that he would be given a penalty as the rules prohibit this. Assessed with a 30 second penalty by about mid-race, Alex was able to dig deep and find speed throughout the 25 minute race and overcome the penalty by finishing the race more than 36 seconds ahead of second place. In post race tech, Keyes was disqualified for having an old style wing mount. The disqualification was overturned on upon review of the rules.
“It was a great weekend and I am really enjoying driving the Formula Pro Mazda,” said Keyes. “This is the first season I have been able to drive on the Sonoma Circuit and it is by far my favorite track. I’m looking forward to preparing for the next race at Thunderhill.”
The schedule for the 2014 12 race Formula Car Challenge is:
- March 15-16 – Sonoma Raceway
- April 26-27 – Thunderhill Raceway
- May 24-25 – Thunderhill Raceway
- June 5-8 – Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca
- July 4-5 – Portland International Raceway
- September 13-14 – Sonoma Raceway (with FIA WTCC)