Skerlong Dominates Atlantic Field for Maiden Triumph Mukilteo, Washington (September 15, 2008) -- Carl Skerlong has long threatened a win in the 2008 Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda and Round 9 at New Jersey...
Skerlong Dominates Atlantic Field for Maiden Triumph
Mukilteo, Washington (September 15, 2008) -- Carl Skerlong has long threatened a win in the 2008 Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda and Round 9 at New Jersey Motorsports Park, on Sunday 14th September, saw the teenage racer promptly deliver with an emphatic victory over his series rivals.
Skerlong, who races the #14 King Taco/Pacific Coast Motorsports Swift Mazda-Cosworth, simply dominated the field in the 50-minute race, and throughout all practice and qualifying sessions leading up to his first career Atlantic victory. The Seattle ace arrived at the Millville-based facility with three podiums already this season but he finally checked off the top step of the podium with a clean sweep of all available points from the weekend, a total of 34, climbing to fifth overall in the Driver Standings with two rounds remaining.
New Jersey Motorsports Park's 2.177-mile layout hosted the Atlantic Championship for the first time at the weekend and Carl proved himself to be a fast learner as he topped the timesheets in Friday's test outing and once again in Saturday's final practice session. The 19-year-old successfully translated his pace into a guaranteed front-row grid slot with the provisional pole winning time of 1m10.801s on Saturday afternoon.
Sunday's second and final qualifying outing was business as usual for Skerlong as he fired in a hot lap of 1m10.211s (111.624mph) to secure his second pole position of the season, his first coming in Round 5 at Edmonton, this time the American locking out the top spot ahead of Finland's Markus Niemela, who's best was a 1m10.422s.
What followed in the race was a Skerlong master class and reminiscent of his dominating form on his way to back-to-back championship wins in the Formula TR Pro 1600 and 2000 series in 2005 and 2006. Carl launched off the line and rubber-stamped his status as the fastest racer in the field. Leading all the way from green to checkered, Skerlong claimed his maiden Atlantic victory along with the bonus point for fastest lap of the race. The jubilant American was joined on the podium by Niemela in second and countryman Jonathan Summerton in third.
"It was long, but I could have kept going for hours at that pace," Skerlong said after his win. "We had an awesome car all weekend. Lapped traffic started to play into the race a bit, but in the end, we came out on top. Going green to checkered, it was kind of surprising to me considering how practice and qualifying went. It made for a long race. It's a very physical track, but in the first time here, to take my first victory I really couldn't ask for much more. All in all, it was a great weekend!"
Round 10 of the 2008 Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda heads out west to Miller Motorsports Park outside of Salt Lake City, Utah, Friday 19th -- Sunday 21st September -- www.millermotorsportspark.com