Kekai Hauanio Wins Thrilling Race 2 at Mid-Ohio

LEXINGTON, Ohio (June 23, 2024) – 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 into second. 

As they crossed the line, it was Hauanio, followed by Musella and then Cáceres. 

     READ MORE:  Race 2 Official Results

“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.”