Hauanio wins JS F4 races 2 and 3 at Mid-Ohio

Kekai Hauanio (No. 29 N.E.Where Transportation / New’T Racing Ligier JS F4) won a thrilling Race 2 in the Ligier JS F4 Series (JS F4) at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Sunday morning. Rain in the area washed out some of the early morning races and led to tricky conditions for JS F4’s opening competition of the day. Race Director Scott Goodyear declared the event a “wet race,” requiring all teams to start on Hankook rain tires. Hauanio led the field down the starting grid, but dropped back in the running order during the early laps and let the race come to him. Lots of side-by-side racing and intense battles filled the race, which stayed green from lights to checkers.

Notes of Interest:
Kekai Hauanio earned his third win of 2024 with Race 2 at Mid-Ohio on Sunday morning.
Teddy Musella has finished on the podium more than any other driver in JS F4. His second-place result marked his sixth podium finish of 2024.
Maite Cáceres earned her fourth podium of the season with a third-place result.
Three teams were represented on today’s podium, as Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport won the race with Kekai Hauanio, Scuderia Buell finished second with Teddy Musella, and International Motorsports came in third with Maite Cáceres.

When the lights went out to start Race 2 on Sunday morning, Hauanio jumped to the lead as the field raced toward Turn 1, but it didn’t take long for Teddy Musella (No. 25 Scuderia Buell Ligier JS F4) to start applying pressure. Pulling to the inside of Hauanio as they reached the Keyhole, Musella emerged from the corner with control of the race. Behind them, third-place starter Bacon Zelenka (No. 45 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F4) was under siege by Maite Cáceres (No. 6 Abitab / Supermatch Ligier JS F4), who had rolled off fourth. The quartet of drivers was giving an early preview for what fans could expect during the closing laps of the race.


The wet track was starting to dry with a full field of JS F4 cars on it, leading to more challenges for the drivers as they picked their line around the 2.258-mile circuit. Hauanio opted to fall back in the running order, allowing the first four cars past him as he got acclimated to the track conditions. Out front, Cáceres pulled up to challenge Musella for the lead, cutting the gap to as little as 0.164 seconds by the race’s halfway point. Behind them, Hauanio had already made his way around Hayden Bowlsbey (No. 83 IGY6 Motorsports / Save22 Ligier JS F4) for fourth, and was focused on overtaking Zelenka. With a gutsy move diving to the inside of Zelenka in Turn 9, Hauanio completed the pass to move into third with just 12 minutes left on the clock. A few laps later, Hauanio dove to the inside of Cáceres, catching the curbing and bouncing a wheel as they entered the Keyhole. Completing the pass, Hauanio continued to pull ahead as they raced down the backstretch.

With less than 10 minutes left on the clock, Hauanio kept his full focus on Musella and the race lead. Just one lap after passing Cáceres in the Keyhole, he pulled next to Musella in the same turn. The two raced side by side through several corners, but Hauanio completed the pass as they exited Turn 7.

The final six minutes were filled with intense racing, as the top-four drivers were all separated by mere tenths of a second. Hauanio held the lead, as Musella, Cáceres and Zelenka all jockeyed for position, with Musella briefly dropping back to third, but quickly working his way back in to second.
As they crossed the line, it was Hauanio, followed by Musella and then Cáceres.

“That was a fun race,” said Hauanio atop the podium. “I fell back there at the beginning, but then I got to watch the other drivers and see what line they were racing. I slowly got the pace, and then I was able to run it back down for the win. I’d like to thank all my sponsors who helped me get here, my grandpa, N.E.Where Transport, and of course, Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport for giving me the best car.”

Race 2 Official Results

Kekai Hauanio (No. 29 N.E.Where Transportation / New’T Racing Ligier JS F4) earned his second Formula 4 United States Championship (F4 U.S.) win of the day, and second win of the Mid-Ohio SpeedTour weekend, on Sunday afternoon. Starting the race from the pole, Hauanio survived multiple restarts to claim his fourth win of the 2024 season.

Notes of Interest:
Kekai Hauanio entered the weekend with just two victories this season, but raised that number to four, winning both of Sunday’s races.
Teddy Musella earned his seventh podium of the season with his runner-up finish.
Jake Pollack tied his career-best result with a third-place finish on Sunday afternoon.
Jacob Lawter earned his career-best finish with a fourth-place result at Mid-Ohio.
Roman Felber finished sixth, marking his best result in his JS F4 debut weekend.

Cash Felber finished ninth to earn his first-career JS F4 championship points.
Heavy rain passed through the area just before the scheduled start of JS F4’s Race 3, causing flooding in some areas and rivers to flow across the track in others. Track crews worked to dry the surface, and Race Director Scott Goodyear declared the race a “wet race,” requiring all drivers to start on treaded Hankook rain tires. Hauanio led the field down the starting grid with Jake Pollack (No. 1 JENSEN Ligier JS F4) in second. Third-place starter Bacon Zelenka (No. 45 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F4) immediately jumped up next to Pollack for the runner-up position, while Maite Cáceres (No. 6 Abitab / Supermatch Ligier JS F4) was challenged by Teddy Musella (No. 25 Scuderia Buell Ligier JS F4) for the fourth spot. With Zelenka and Musella both winning their battles, the field slowed seconds later, as Cáceres and Zelenka both spun in separate incidents. Cáceres was stuck in the Turn 11 gravel trap, while Zelenka regrouped to rejoin the race in the second-to-last position.

The race restarted with Hauanio still in the point position. Running second, Pollack was under fire with Musella tight on his gearbox. Musella got a good run on the backstretch and was able to make his move in Turn 4 to complete the pass. The pressure wasn’t over for Pollack, who next found Brad Majman (No. 95 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F4) filling his mirrors. Side by side in Turn 9, Majman went wide forcing Pollack off the racing surface as he took third.

With another competitor getting stuck in the gravel, the red flag was displayed to stop the clock and give drivers the best chance at a run to the checkered flag. Hauanio held on through another restart, with Musella just behind him. Majman and Pollack continued to duke it out for third.
The damp track with wet spots throughout proved to be tough conditions, with multiple drivers slipping and sliding over the racing surface. Another full course caution ensued, with the race ultimately finishing under yellow-flag conditions. Hauanio was the first to take the checkered, with Musella in second and Majman in third.

After the race, the stewards reviewed an incident involving Majman and Pollack, determining that Majman forced the No. 7 of Pollack off the track, and issued a five-second penalty. As a result, Majman dropped to eighth in the final results, with Pollack being promoted to third.

Race 3 Official Results

“It was a pretty good race,” said Hauanio. “I wish we got to race more, but I’ll take it. I’d like to thank all my sponsors who helped me get here, my grandpa, N.E.Where Transport, and of course, my amazing team at Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport.”

Next, JS F4 takes on New Jersey Motorsports Park for the New Jersey Lottery SpeedTour, July 25-28. Tickets for the event at available at Live timing and scoring can be accessed on the Race Monitor app, and additional news and updates about Ligier JS F4 are available on the series’ Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Story originally appeared on Racer