Sebring: Newman Wach Racing qualifying report

EDWARDS SECURES FRONT ROW STARTING POSITION AT SEBRING Sebring, FL (March 19, 2009) - Second qualifying today at Sebring was considerably slower for the Atlantic Championship competitors but Newman Wachs Racing driver John Edwards was quickest,...

EDWARDS SECURES FRONT ROW STARTING POSITION AT SEBRING

Sebring, FL (March 19, 2009) - Second qualifying today at Sebring was considerably slower for the Atlantic Championship competitors but Newman Wachs Racing driver John Edwards was quickest, which secures him a spot on the front row for tomorrow's race. Reigning Atlantic Champ Markus Niemela was 4th today, but will start 6th on the grid.

Once again, both NWR drivers were fast out of the box and neither was ever out of the top 5. John was the fastest of the session from lap 4 on, and Markus was 2nd until the closing laps. The track temperature was much hotter and the wind played a factor on the 2.5 mile course, thus times from yesterday's qualification set the grid with the exception of Edwards.

Edwards won the Star Mazda Championship last year, earning him a full scholarship to compete in the Atlantic Championship as part of the MAZDASPEED Motorsports driver development ladder system. At only 18, he is competing in the Atlantic Series for his sophomore season after becoming the youngest ever in 2007, when he was just 16.

Markus Niemela is the first Atlantic Champion to return to the Series for a full-time campaign since Lee Bentham defended his title in 1999. The talented young Finn just joined NWR two weeks ago and won the season finale at Road Atlanta. He is eager to carry on with that momentum.

Both drivers have March birthdays, as John turned 18 on the 11th and Markus turns 25 on race day tomorrow. Hopefully both will have something to celebrate.

John Edwards, #36 MAZDASPEED/ Entergy/ Nuclear Clean Air Energy

"We're starting P2, but we made big improvements from yesterday and I got it together on track. I was a whole lot more consistent and I think we were P1 most of the session today. I ended first, but unfortunately the track was slower today. That's just how it goes in the two-session format. Jonathan's (Summerton) on pole, but we're here at Sebring and there are a couple of long straight-aways, so hopefully we can stay with him and maybe see if we can draft by him and win tomorrow."

Markus Niemela, #1 Mr. Jones/ Entergy/ Nuclear Clean Air Energy

"Our results today are not an accurate representation of how fast we are. Yesterday I was on a flier my last lap when I came upon a much slower car and went off to avoid hitting them. Today the track was very slow, but I am very comfortable with my car and looking forward to a good race tomorrow. We're starting a couple of rows further back than I would have liked, but we'll see what happens."

Newman Wachs Racing heads into its fourth year of competition in the Atlantic Series in 2009. In its three years of competition, NWR has earned 1 pole position, 3 victories, 7 podium finishes, and 11 top-fives.

-credit: nwr

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About this article
Series Atlantic
Drivers John Edwards , Markus Niemela , Lee Bentham