James Roe Jr., of Naas, Kildare County, Ireland capped off his debut season racing in the US at the 13 turn 2.25 mile New Jersey Motorsports Park by driving his Mazda-powered Elan race car to a Win and a 3rd place finish propelling him to a 2nd place finish in the overall championship.
Strong season finish achieved
Roe Jr. came into the weekend P4 of the season championship. Positions 2 through 5 of the championship were tightly grouped, separated by a total of 31 points. Roe Jr. was not only looking for strong individual race performances, but to move up in the season championship standings – he was able to achieve both.
Practice went smoothly for Roe Jr. In Practice 1 he was quickest by a staggering 4 seconds on a damp track. Practice 2 was run under dry conditions with Roe Jr. ending up P2 after being P1 until the last lap.
For Race 1, Roe Jr. started from P2 on the front row. Once the green flag flew, Roe Jr. seized command of the race and never looked back leading every lap and winning by 3 seconds. This marked Roe Jr’s 3rd win of the season. “It was great to start the weekend off with a win” said Roe Jr. “Once I got the lead I just focused on making no errors and I pulled away comfortably”
For Race 2, Roe Jr. started from P4 following an incredibly competitive qualifying session with the top 4 cars being separated by a mere .083 seconds. Roe Jr. ended up finishing on the podium in 3rd place. “Race 2 was a little frustrating” said Roe. Jr. “The start was messy as the leader never did a rolling start from pole position before. I fell back some places initially then worked on getting back up the order. By the time I got back into P3 the lead two had broken away. It was a pity as I had a fast car, fast enough for the fastest race lap”.
Roe Jr’s win in Race 1 combined with his 3rd place finish and fastest lap in Race 2 were enough for him to secure 2nd place in the overall season championship. “Overall I think it was a very positive year. Obviously we had some misfortune from the DNF’s so we ended up 2nd in the overall championship in my first year here in the US, which is really encouraging. I want to congratulate Steve Jenks for winning the championship. He was fast and consistent all season”
A very, very successful US debut
James Roe Jr. arrived in the US in April as a young man with a strong work ethic and big ambitions. Every single track the Series visited was a first time experience for Roe Jr. He learned quickly and the results showed:
2nd Place in F2000 Season Championship
3 Race Wins – Watkins Glen, VIR, NJMP. Roe Jr.’s three race wins tied 2018 Series Champion, Steve Jenks, and 2017 Defending Series Champion, Brandon Dixon, for most individual wins during the 2018 season.
7 Podiums @ 6 different tracks – Road Atlanta, Watkins Glen, VIR, Mid-Ohio, Summit Point, NJMP (2)
Set a new race lap record at Summit Point breaking a long standing benchmark
Successful USF2000 debut at Indianapolis Grand Prix – Top 5 finish
“I have to thank Gregg and Brent Borland from ArmsUp Motorsports and all my sponsors/supporters. I would not have been racing this year if not for all of them. I am now looking forward to the Motorsport Ireland Young racing driver of the year interview process. I am now fully focused on the 2019 season, preparation has already began”
Images – Motor Club Media