Laguna Seca: Jonathan Summerton race report

Coming into the final round of the Atlantic Championship in 2nd place Jonathan Summerton was ready to make things happen for his Newman Wach's Racing Team. Only 6 points separated him from the lead and 5 points back to 3rd. He knew the...

Coming into the final round of the Atlantic Championship in 2nd place Jonathan Summerton was ready to make things happen for his Newman Wach's Racing Team. Only 6 points separated him from the lead and 5 points back to 3rd. He knew the championship was down to the wire.

Although there were only 2 short practice sessions Summerton was on pace as the team tried several different set up strategies in readiness for qualifying and the race, hampered by the extremely cold weather which was causing the tires to react differently and take up to 5 laps to warm up.It was obvious the Newman Wach's drivers were the ones to beat with Summerton having the fastest lap of the day.

Qualifying was also on the cold side which was catching everyone out. Throughout the session Summerton made several of the fastest times as the fuel was burned off. When the tire changing startedsome teams came in early giving them more time to put heat into their tires and at the tire change Summerton was at the top of the times. Going out saw him lose top place as he warmed his tires in readiness for some final laps. As the clock time ran down Summerton got the best time with one lap to go, however lost out by 5 hundredths of a second (0.05 second) as the checkered waived.

Sunday's race was scheduled for 1.30 pm. The mist waslifting but the cold Pacific wind was still chilling as the cars lined up for the grid parade.

When the cars went out on their warm up lap, the drivers swerved vigorously trying to put lots of heat into their tires and brakes. They soon came round the final corner and lined up waiting for the start lights. When the lights came on the engine sound was awesome as they hit the limiters, everyone just waiting for the split second when the lights went out. At that moment the cars roared off with each driver trying to make advances on the cars in front. Even though Summerton had advanced in distance before turn one he couldn't make the pass on the leader. As the cars went into the corkscrew Simona made an attempt to pass Neimela who wasn't going to give up his fourth position. The two cars made contact ending Simona's championship hopes in one quick move causing a full course yellow for the next few laps as the safety team removed her car.

At the restart Summerton was break checked as the leader came out of the final corner in readiness for the green. This caused him to lose some grip and unable to overtake. For the rest of the race Jonathan kept the pressure on although having problems due to low downforce when closing the gap thus having to drop back to allow his tires to cool. All he could do was hope the leader would make a mistake. At the checkered Jonathan was 1.3 seconds behind having set the fastest lap of the race.

Afterwards Jonathan said, "It was good for the team to finish 1-2 in the championship but I was disappointed at the final result of finishing second after being tied in points and wins and it going down to second place finishes instead of pole positions or miles completed. We were the only car not to have a driving error in the championship. It was just the fact of an alternator failure during a race in Autobahn where I was in second place at the time. All in all the guys did a great job and I can't thank them enough for their hard work. Don Halliday did a fantastic job engineering and couldn't ask for a better engineer. Thanks to all my fans for their support and Eddie and Sheri Wachs for supporting me."

-credit: JonathanSummerton.com

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About this article
Series Atlantic
Drivers Jonathan Summerton