Lindenhurst, New York (June 28, 2015) - Group-A Racing had a record setting weekend this past weekend during the Formula Lites event at Virginia International Raceway. The team was the first ever in series history to achieve a 1-2 sweep with its drivers Jackie Ding & Jose Armida. It had been 5 weeks since the last race at New Jersey Motorsports Park. Group-A Racing kept busy during the break with a testing program to further develop their car setups, as well as coaching its drivers to improve doing race simulations and qualifying simulations. After successful couple of days the team and its drivers were feeling confident going into the event.
The weekend did not start off as everybody had hoped with the initial expected speed not showing. The drivers mainly worked with their driver coach ,Jonathan Scarallo, to make the necessary improvements to find the time needed.
Qualifying would give mixed emotions for the teams drivers. Jose Armida made a very big improvement yet again and earned the outside pole. Jackie Ding, sadly had a mistake on his third flying lap that forced an early end to his session. With that, he still he managed to qualify 3rd.
“Overall I am pleased with how the weekend has gone” said team manager and driver coach Jonathan Scarallo. “I have worked really hard coaching the drivers and they have done a great job of taking the coaching, applying it ,and therefore going quicker every time. We hoped we could maybe grab the pole, but still it was a good showing and we can challenge for the win tomorrow.”
At the start, Jackie Ding challenged his Group-A Racing teammate going into turn one. Jose would hold him off and continue to for the next three laps. On lap four Jackie got by his teammate going into turn one and set his sights on the leader who had built a 4 second gap while the two Group-A Racing drivers battled. Ding & Papperlli started to trade fastest lap of the race causing the lead to stay at the 4 second gap. Through persistent pressure applied by Ding, Papperlli made a mistake in the final corner giving Jackie the lead and Jose 2nd. The Group-A Racing duo kept it that way to the checkered flag giving the team and the Formula Lites Series their first ever 1-2 finish.
In race two Jose Armida started third and Jackie Ding started fourth. Both drivers got good starts moving up to 2nd and 3rd. The Group-A Racing duo hounded Nick Neri for the lead. Unfortunately, Jackie’s race would come to an early end, when a parts failure occurred in the left rear. Jose Armida started to run Neri down for the lead, cutting it down lap-by-lap. Armida got to the leader at the very end but did not have enough time to find a way past, coming home with another second place finish.
“This result is such an incredible feeling” said Jonathan Scarallo “We worked really hard during the break and to earn a 1-2 finish the first race back is incredible. Everybody in the team and the drivers have worked so hard this year and it’s great to see the on track results showcasing the work that has been put in. It’s very unfortunate to have the mechanical situation with Jackie in race two. If it was not for that we might have swept both races. It’s the first time one of our cars has had a mechanical DNF since 2009, but that’s racing sometimes. We’ll get it fixed for the next one.”
"I'm extremely happy about the progress that we made and the results that we have achieved together. Not only did my driving improve a lot with help from the team, our understanding of these Formula Lites cars also grew immensely. To come home with a victory feels amazing, not to mention it being a one-two finish for Group-A Racing. It's the perfect way to say "Thank You“ to the team! Before the next race, I'll be working harder than ever to get another victory!” said Jackie Ding
"It was a very good weekend for everyone. The team, Jackie and I worked very hard the last days and I think it payed off. We are the first team in Formula Lites to have a 1-2 and I think that it is pretty special. Looking forward to do it all over again at Carolina Motorsports Park next month!" said Jose Armida.
For more information on race and testing opportunities with Group-A Racing contact them via 631-957-3901 or GroupARacing@aol.com