After announcing plans to run one more full-time season in Formula Lights, Jose Mendana Jr. brought home a fourth place finish at the season opener in Port Neches, TX. Seventeen boats entered for the 15th annual Port Neches Riverfest which is held on the Neches River. Port Neches was also the second ever sanctioned race under the North American Speedboat Federation (NASF), the new sanctioning body for the USF1 Powerboat Tour & SPORT Racing Series.
Rain plagued this year’s event throughout the weekend as teams from all over North America battled for the win. Mendana Jr. who sold his own Formula Lights hull at the end of the 2015 season was jumping into the hull previously driven by his brother for his first race in it. After drawing the twelfth starting spot for the first qualifying heat, Mendana Jr. drove his way up to a fourth place finish. The fourth place finish in heat one then placed Mendana Jr. at the back of the pack for the start of the second heat in the fourteenth position. The second heat brought some difficulty as Mendana Jr. encountered trim issues on lap two forcing him to the drive the boat with no trim and ending up with a tenth place finish and ninth overall after the first two heats. Needing a good run in heat three to move up the start dock for the final, mother nature forced the cancellation of heat three on Sunday morning forcing all classes to go directly to their final events.
After starting the final in ninth, Mendana Jr. quickly moved up into the top six as the field settled in. Some fortunate breaks and miscues by competitors in the top five, moved Jose Jr into the fourth finishing position. “Overall I am pretty pleased with the way we ran this weekend, we have speed to compete this year. We caught a bad break in heat two with the trim issues that neglected our really good first heat and then got another bad break with heat three being cancelled. We salvaged a decent point’s weekend and we are in the hunt as we head to La Porte, a course I think this #21 Pugh hull can really excel”.
Carlos Mendana who jumped into the second boat of Makin Waves Racing failed to finish either heat on Saturday with mechanical failures after leading the first five laps of heat two. Carlos who started in the sixteenth position for the final, battled and drove his way up to the sixth position where he ultimately finished behind Andy Versace who came home in fifth.
Jose Mendana Jr. will now pull double duty at the next event at the Maple City Grand Prix in La Porte, Indiana where he will participate in both the Formula One and Formula Lights classes. Carlos Mendana will be back behind the wheel of his #27 Seebold Hull in Formula One.
The Maple City Grand Prix will be the first event of the season for Formula One and event number two for Formula Lights with the US Formula 1 Powerboat Tour.
Formula Lights Results