Descending on the Brainerd International Raceway for rounds ten through twelve of the F4 United States Championship Powered by Honda, Velocity Racing Development’s Jason Alder was able to show the pace once again he needs to be successful in the highly competitive series. Turning the fastest lap of race two and advancing forward from 26th to eighth in race three, Alder had to overcome several issues throughout the weekend that were no fault of his own.
After test session and practice results that saw the Alder in the top-ten on old tires, the rookie was expecting a near top result in qualifying. Maintaining his pace on Saturday morning during qualifying, Alder was on a pole setting lap when a slide in the final corner relegated him to a disappointing eighth fastest lap of the session. Alder would line up on the outside of row four for the first wheel-to-wheel race of the weekend.
Looking to move forward, a race that featured a major incident on the opening lap and one shortly after the restart caused every race lap to run under yellow conditions. Despite running close to the front of the field and being a victim of other drivers’ mistakes during the second caution, series officials announced that no points would be awarded for round ten due to the lack of green flag laps. Additionally, qualifying would set the grid for round eleven, rather than the fastest lap of race ten forcing Alder to start on the outside of row four once again.
In a jam-packed day that would see the second race roll off the grid late in the afternoon, Alder ran as high as third as he looked to find his way back to the podium. As the fastest car on the track and turning the lap record, Alder was once again involved in an on-track incident while running in the top-three, eventually being classified in the 17th position. Despite the disappointing result, the Maryland resident and Velocity Racing Development driver secured the fastest lap of the race and the accompanying pole position for round twelve.
“So far it has been a disappointing weekend with no points scored,” explained Alder. “Hopefully we can turn that around tomorrow starting from the pole position. The pace is there, just the on-track luck has not been and that is a shame for how hard the Velocity Racing Development crew has been working.”
Later that evening, F4 series officials announced penalties in which the #77 of Alder received one for an incident on track. A time penalty of ten seconds and forced to start from pit lane for race three, Alder was stripped of his pole position.
Returning to the track on Sunday morning and knowing that his pit lane starting spot would provide Alder with a challenge, he proved to the F4 grid why he is one of the top drivers in the series. Advancing from 24th on the opening lap to finish eighth, Jason finished less than five seconds behind the race winner and scored a few more points towards the championship point standings. Following the final race of the weekend, series officials posted time penalties to a pair of drivers that finished in front of Alder advancing him up to a sixth-place finish.
“What can you do?” expressed Alder. “I did the best I could do and that I am proud of. The VRD program is top notch and that is shown through the speed and success of the drivers within it. Unfortunately, luck has not been on our side these past few events and it has really hurt us in the championship battle. We will continue to work hard and finish the year strong and build some momentum towards 2022.”