Mi-Jack Conquest Racing And Graham Rahal Win Second Atlantic Race Rahal will start second and Lewis 13th for second round of double-header Cleveland, Ohio, June 24, 2006 -- After a second place finish for Ryan Lewis and a disappointing race...
Mi-Jack Conquest Racing And Graham Rahal Win Second Atlantic Race
Rahal will start second and Lewis 13th for second round of double-header
Cleveland, Ohio, June 24, 2006 -- After a second place finish for Ryan Lewis and a disappointing race for Graham Rahal in Portland last weekend, the Mi-Jack Conquest Racing Team came out strong in the first race of the Gehl Atlantic Championship of Cleveland with Graham Rahal winning his second race this season. His team-mate Ryan Lewis tapped the wall in the opening stages of the race but fought his way up to 19th and registered the second fastest lap of the race behind Rahal.
The Atlantic cars were doing standing starts for the first time since 1998 and Graham Rahal thought he had stalled it at the start but managed to keep the engine going and most importantly keep his fifth place. Rahal quickly got passed the fourth place car of Steve Ott and moved up to third when Robbie Pecorari made contact with the wall. With ten laps remaining Rahal was on a mission. He overtook pole-sitter Andreas Wirth with a nice move in turn one for second place and two laps later took the lead from Simon Pagenaud to go on to win his second career Atlantic race.
"It's nice to win here, it is the closest race I have to home. The best feeling is that we won in Monterrey, then we went to Portland, we got taken out from the pole and then we came back here, we showed the strength of the Mi-Jack Conquest Team and we won again. That's the most important thing," said Rahal who lives in New Albany, Ohio. "The car was perfect, I have to say it was pretty good. It was consistent and that is also important. If you are consistent I think eventually you wear the others out. That's how I thought during the Monterrey race and to not make any mistakes. It worked there so I knew if I did the same here, we would get the opportunities and we did."
Ryan Lewis from Britain moved up seven positions at the start but slightly hit the wall on lap six. He had to come into the pits to get repairs done but by the time he went back out he was already 4 laps down. Lewis went on the finish 19th and despite slight damage to the car was one of the quickest cars on the track.
"The race from the start was really good. I made up quite a few positions. Unfortunately I went too wide trying to get a run on Dirani in the opening laps and tapped the wall. I was able to get back out but I knew the race was done for us. I wanted to get some track experience and try and get fastest lap but my team-mate beat me to it. We were the only two cars to get in the 64s today," said Lewis. "The car got better and better throughout the race. It's looking good for tomorrow. If I manage to do another good start I think we can get ourselves inside the top-five and salvage as many points as I can this weekend."
Qualifying for race two
In qualifying for the second Atlantic race of the weekend, Graham Rahal grabbed second place, "At least tomorrow I start second, I won't have to move my way up as much," said the 17-year-old.
His team-mate, Ryan Lewis will start 13th. "We definitely improved on yesterday but I was not consistent enough and made too many mistakes. I know the car can be faster and we will be able to make up some positions during the race." Round two of the double-header takes place tomorrow at noon. Both races this weekend will be broadcast tape delayed on Speed July 9th starting at 4 p.m. ET.