Utah: Jonathan Summerton weekend summary

Summerton Gets Closer to the 2008 Championship Beautiful Miller Motorsports Park was the site of the Atlantic Championship race powered by Mazda. Summerton closes in on the Championship with 1 point for fastest qualifying session, and 27...

Summerton Gets Closer to the 2008 Championship

Beautiful Miller Motorsports Park was the site of the Atlantic Championship race powered by Mazda.

Summerton closes in on the Championship with 1 point for fastest qualifying session, and 27 points for finishing 2nd in the race placing the excitement for the final race at Road Atlanta, the first weekend in October. He is now only 8 points off the Champion.

The weekend started with a test day to learn this 4 plus mile track with 23 corners making it one of the longest and most cornered tracks in North America. With a track so long you only manage a few laps per test and then if you make a mistake or hit traffic on one lap you have to wait a long time to start your next lap.

"The circuit took a little time to learn and remember what part of the track I was on. A few laps in and I was thinking is it a left or right? The track is fun though, and the facilities are something Utah can certainly be proud of."

On the Friday it was down to business of official practice. Jonathan found amazing speed. He put a blistering 2.27.323 second lap; a lap that was the fastest lap of the weekend by more than seven tenths of a second.

"The car was just working great with the temp and everything. We were able to produce about 4 laps around the same lap time which I felt was very impressive."

In the afternoon 1st qualifying took place. Jonathan finished three tenths of a second off pole in 2nd place. Afterwards Jonathan said that he made a couple of mistakes on his fastest lap but still needed to find more speed and we never had the tires come up to the running tire pressure.

Saturday, prior to the Rolex Daytona Prototype race, was the 2nd qualifying. Amazingly the track was slower for nearly everyone. As each car finished their lap Jonathan came back with a faster lap and at the checkered he had P1 with the fastest time of 2.30.433. So, the times from qualifying one were the times to use, thus giving Jonathan a front row start. Jonathan felt disappointed that he couldn't beat the times of yesterday but with the wind and less grip it was just impossible. "Hopefully we will be quicker on Sunday," he said.

In the Sunday warm up Summerton had the fastest time of 2.28.913 at the checkered. "The car is feeling great and I know we are ready for the race."

Sunday afternoon came and the lights went green. Starting on the dirty side of the track Jonathan actually led the field through Turn 1 on the opening lap and had managed to pull about 15 car lengths by about half way through the lap, but race officials determined that he crept slightly forward and then stopped before the lights went out for the standing start and he was ordered to surrender the position to Niemela, which he did before the completion of the first lap. Jonathan pressured Niemela on several occasions throughout the 50-minute race, but was never able to overtake due to the aero loss when he was less than half a second or closer. At the finish line Jonathan finished less than half a second behind the winner.

"It was the most disappointing second place I have taken," Summerton said. "However, being on the podium is always a good thing. The start was a little frustrating. In the drivers' meeting they said it would be 1-3 seconds, but the lights took longer to go out. I only crept a few inches and stopped, causing us to have a disadvantage. But I'm happy with a second place. We have the rookie lead and hopefully we can win the championship in Atlanta, making it a very interesting Finale."

The runner-up result for Summerton was his fourth consecutive podium result in the No. 36 Newman Wachs Racing machine and his fifth podium in his past six starts.

So, going into the Final race we have Bomarito with 223 points, Summerton (Rookie) with 216 points, and Neimela (Rookie) with 214 points, making for a really exciting Final race for the Atlantic season. Atlanta Oct 2nd and 3rd

-credit: www.JonathanSummerton.com

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About this article
Series Atlantic
Drivers Jonathan Summerton