Long Beach: Carl Skerlong preview

Long Beach Beckons Skerlong Mukilteo, Washington (April 11, 2007) -- Carl Skerlong hasn't had long to dwell on his retirement from the opening round of the 2007 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda in Las ...

Long Beach Beckons Skerlong

Mukilteo, Washington (April 11, 2007) -- Carl Skerlong hasn't had long to dwell on his retirement from the opening round of the 2007 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda in Las Vegas last Sunday as the 18-year-old has quickly turned his attentions to this weekend's second round, hosted on the famed streets of Long Beach, California, 13th-15th April.

Skerlong's series debut in Vegas, racing the #24 King Taco/US RaceTronics Swift Mazda-Cosworth, proved to be a rollercoaster of emotions, the high being his stunning performance in Friday's first qualifying session, finishing second fastest and highest rookie from the 27-car field, before the low of being taken out just four laps into Sunday's race having been an early candidate for a top-three finish.

The young American charger proved himself to be a quick learner in 'Sin City', the event marking his first ever street course race. Carl's rapid education should come in handy, not least with this Sunday's second round taking place on the 1.968-mile temporary street course around Long Beach, followed next weekend, 20th-22nd April, by a third straight street race in Houston, Texas.

The competition in California will be fierce with Round 1 winner, Brazil's Raphael Matos, boasting a runner-up finish in Long Beach last season, followed closely at the flag by his 2007 team-mate, Canada's James Hinchcliffe. Skerlong, despite his rookie status, comfortably mixed it with the sophomore drivers in Las Vegas last weekend, the Washington-native just three hundredths of a second shy of Hinchcliffe's provisional pole winning time in Friday qualifying, the Canadian narrowly denying Carl a guaranteed front-row start for Sunday's race and his first series point of the season.

Skerlong was disappointed not to have qualified higher come Saturday afternoon but he rocketed off the line from seventh place on Sunday to gain three spots as the field toured the Vegas streets for the first time. His progress hustling his 300bhp King Taco-backed race car into podium contention was cut short following the day's first caution period, France's Franck Perera pitching Carl into the wall at Turn 5, a disappointing end to a promising display from the Formula TR Pro Series 2000 Champion.

Choosing to look ahead instead of dwelling on what might have been Carl said, "I can't wait to get going in Long Beach, I love the challenge of street racing!" He continued, "We proved from the off that we're a competitive team and it's just unfortunate that we left Vegas empty-handed following a strong early showing. Long Beach is a bit of a home race for me with King Taco based in California along with the US RaceTronics team. The guys gave me a great car last time out and I don't see any reason why we can't back that up this weekend and get some points on the board."

The 2007 Champ Car Atlantic Championship takes in 12 races over 10 weekends from April to August with events held throughout the United States in Las Vegas, Long Beach, Houston, Portland, Cleveland, San Jose and Elkhart Lake with a cross-border excursion to Canada in July for races in Mont-Tremblant, Toronto and Edmonton.

Round 2 starts in Long Beach, California on Sunday, 15th April, at 10:35am PST.

-credit: sm/cs

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About this article
Series Atlantic
Drivers James Hinchcliffe , Carl Skerlong , Franck Perera