Bomarito becomes first Atlantic driver to win twice in 2008 Thus far, it's been nearly a perfect weekend for Monterey, California's Jonathan Bomarito. He was fastest in the opening practice session, almost earned the pole for the first race, and...
Bomarito becomes first Atlantic driver to win twice in 2008
Thus far, it's been nearly a perfect weekend for Monterey, California's Jonathan Bomarito. He was fastest in the opening practice session, almost earned the pole for the first race, and this morning won the pole for the second race.
What's he going to do next? Just a hint -- nothing to do with Disney World or Disneyland. Instead, he won the first race at Road America, driving the #26 Mathiasen Motorsports Del Taco car into victory circle, right ahead of pole sitter, fellow American racer, Dane Cameron. By winning the race, he earns the distinction of being the first driver to win a second race in this very competitive 2008 Atlantic Championship series.
And how did Bomarito feel about his win? According to him, "It feels amazing. I love this track. There's so much history and it's an amazing place to race on. My hat's off to the whole Mathiasen Motorsports team. Every single session this weekend starting on Wednesday when we had our three practice sessions, nobody's made one single mistake. They're making my job not easy, but easier".
For rookie Dane Cameron, today's race had to be a bittersweet result. His pole position quickly became irrelevant as Bomarito overtook him for the lead going into the first corner on the first lap. The driver of the #19 Genoa Racing Mazdaspeed car was able to pass Bomarito mid race, only to have Jonathan pass him back, retaking the position until the end of the race. His second place finish gave him the best results of the season, and his first podium. And, while he did have some fast laps in qualifying, his car clearly wasn't running as consistently quickly as Bomarito. To his credit, he realized this and didn't do anything to cause anyone else any grief.
Commenting on the winning driver, Cameron said "It was too difficult to set him up for a clean pass. There were probably a couple of times where I could have thrown a dive bomb on him, but he was racing me real clean, so I was going to do the same. I just didn't have quite enough to get back by him, but I'm still really happy to be on my first podium... I'm really really happy with the progress we've made and I'm hoping we can get back up on the podium tomorrow".
The most surprising finish of the day went to Tonis Kasemets, who made very last minute arrangements to drive the #17 TKM car for Genoa Racing, and found him on the podium due to a combination of clever passing, a little luck, and a costly mistake by the two Newman Wachs drivers on the start. The result of these circumstances was an amazing third place finish for a driver who literally jumped into the seat yesterday morning.
Tonis said, "It feels very good. The race was a little crazy in the beginning. All of the guys are a little bit calmer in the beginning, but we settled down and everybody got a rhythm going. My car was really good, and I was waiting and passing where I could make a clean pass. I caught up with the leaders and then I thought third place would be great for a start."
The most costly move of the race was a first lap spin by fourth place starter, #34 Simona De Silvestro, who spun and collected her teammate, Jonathan Summerton, who dropped like a rock in the points race due to his 19th place finish. Simona continued on and finished 10th.
The second most bone-headed move was an attempted pass by Kevin Lacroix which short circuited an otherwise promising run by Canadian rookie Daniel Morad. While going off track to avoid hitting the overly optimistic Lacroix, Morad broke his rear suspension and was out of the race. Hopefully, the car will be in good condition for the Sunday race.
Third place starter was passed by Kasemets and 4th place finisher Carl Skerlong.
Going into Sunday's second race, Hinchcliffe still leads in the points battle, but now by a slim points. Finland's Markus Niemela retains second place in the standings as well as his lead for Rookie of the Year. Bomarito's win lifts him up one position to third. Junior Strous, even with another mid pack finish, still improved in the points, becoming the chief beneficiary of Summerton's early retirement, and now finds himself in fourth place, as we head to the weekend's finale.