Perhaps this wasn’t the weekend Dakota Dickerson had hoped for, but it was the one he was dealt. Gremlins played havoc with Dickerson’s car. As always, Dickerson never gave up and decided to make the best of it during Rounds 9-10-11 of the F3 Americas Championship powered by Honda at the picturesque Virginia International Raceway for the Andy Scriven Memorial Race.
Already, on Saturday morning, one could feel the blistering heat coming. While the qualifying session started under sunny skies showing 82 degrees at 9:00 am, it was shortened because of a red and a yellow flag due to incidents on track. Despite having less track time, Dickerson was able to get second fastest time (1:44,172) behind his returning teammate, Benjamin Pedersen (1:43,486), who decided to hop over the Atlantic and compete in this weekend’s event, as he was between races in his British F3 Championship.
Dickerson’s first race of the weekend on Saturday was going well. His #72 Stress Engineering Services Honda machine was keeping the pace. On Lap 2, a full-course caution came out when Megan Gilkes’s car #49 tangled with Shea Holbrook’s car #67. The two gals were fine but they were done for the weekend. When the race went green again on Lap 6, Dickerson was having a great run while staying close behind his teammate Benjamin Pedersen. The young Californian is known for being a clean and respectful driver. He would wait for the right opportunity to make his move for first place. Hence, two laps before the checker flag, while driving down the back straight, Dickerson went for it, however Lady Luck would have none of it. Dickerson spun on track but continued and finished 3rd, losing only one spot. Still, it was a podium finish and more championship points.
“Pretty tough day” reflected Dickerson. “After getting caught out in qualifying due to red flags, I felt like we had the pace to grab the win even though we were starting second. I held on to second from the start, and from there, tried to get around Benjamin, but it was really hard considering our spot in the Championship, as well as the fact that he is my teammate. In a late-race move to try and get a good run on him, I made a mistake and lost the rear of the car. Luckily, I was able to do a 360 and keep going, only losing one position. I will put this behind me and attack for a win tomorrow” he added.
On Sunday morning, Dickerson’s #72 Doug Mockett & Co., Ligier JSF3 Honda was 2nd on the grid as a result of getting the 2nd fastest lap in the previous race. Dickerson was pumped up and ready to go racing. However, he did not have a good start, and fell down to 3rd place on the very first lap. Meanwhile, teammate Benjamin Pedersen passed the top 3 cars and took the lead. A few laps later, while still in 3rd place, Dickerson began losing speed because of a broken front wing and lost another position relegating him to 4th place. Even though his times were going down, Dickerson hung in there and managed to put on a solid drive to keep his 4th place until the end of the race.
By Sunday afternoon, the weather was excruciatingly hot and humid. Even though the 3.27-mile track was really hot, the Hankook Tires seemed to hold up well in the heat. Dickerson started 4th and as soon as the green flag flew, he wasted no time passing car #34 of Quinlan Lall moving up to 3rd place behind Mathias Soler Obel (#14) and Benjamin Pedersen (#24). On Lap 11, Dickerson made a great move for 2nd place on his teammate Pedersen in the Roller Coaster turn. By Lap 16, Dickerson had recorded the Fast Lap of the race at 1:44,453 and was pushing hard to reach Obel for the win. Unfortunately, a clamp to the intake of the turbo fell off and he lost two positions, finishing 4th.
“I am really disappointed with how the weekend finished out.” Dickerson. “We had the pace throughout the weekend to win races but it wasn’t meant to be. Our front wing broke early in Race 2, and the clap for the intake to the turbo broke in Race 3 while we were challenging for the win. We’ll keep our heads down and focus on the next event. I know how hard these Global Racing Group guys work and have full confidence we will back on the top step at Road America.”
Sometimes, that’s just the way it is. The stars just aren’t aligned and the best thing one can do is “turn the page, and start anew”. The good news is, Dickerson is still leading the points in the Championship.
Dakota Dickerson is already looking forward to the next F3Americas event on August 22-24 at Road America, one of his favourite tracks. Fans will be able to follow live timing and scoring on F3Americas.com or on the Race Monitor app.
F3 Americas Powered by Honda
April 5-7 - Barber Motorsports Park
April 18-20 - Road Atlanta
June 21-23 - Pittsburgh International Race Complex
July 26-28 - Virginia International Raceway
August 22-24 - Road America
September 13-15 Sebring International Raceway
Dakota Dickerson’s race fans can follow him on his website dakotadickersonracing.com, Instagram (@dickersonracing), Facebook (Dakota Dickerson Racing) and on Twitter (@DickersonRacing).
Photo by Red Case Photography