Toronto, Ontario (September 09, 2008) -- Victory in Round 9 of the 2008 Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda is the only thing that will satisfy Canada's James Hinchcliffe this weekend as the series competes at the New...
Toronto, Ontario (September 09, 2008) -- Victory in Round 9 of the 2008 Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda is the only thing that will satisfy Canada's James Hinchcliffe this weekend as the series competes at the New Jersey Motorsports Park for the first time, Friday 12th -- Sunday 14th September.
The 21-year-old arrives at the brand-new Millville-based facility this week knowing that if he's to maintain his title aspirations, only a trip to the top step of the podium will do if he's to reel in his championship rivals, Jonathan Bomarito and Jonathan Summerton. The American duo sit 1-2 respectively in the Driver Standings, with Hinchcliffe third, with the Jonathan's dominating recent events - Bomarito claiming three wins to Summerton's two from the previous five rounds.
James surrendered his title lead to Bomarito at Road America early last month after an off-key double-header weekend saw him finish fifth and eighth behind the wheel of Forsythe Pettit Racing's #3 INDECK/TireRack.com Swift Mazda-Cosworth. In contrast Bomarito and Summerton split the wins at the famed Elkhart Lake track. Back on home soil for Round 8 at Trois-Rivieres in mid-August brought hope of the Canadian adding to his second round triumph at Laguna Seca in May but instead an early-race clash with countryman Kevin Lacroix brought 'Hinch' just a solitary point from the weekend as he was forced to retire for the first time this season.
"We're heading into the final three races of the year and without doubt it's our turn to get back on top," said Hinchcliffe. "We had a pretty rough August by our standards at Road America and Trois-Rivieres so we're really in a position now where if we're not winning races we're not going to have a shot at winning the championship. As a result we've changed our approach slightly. We're no longer targeting strong points finishes; we're after race wins, simple as that! I think we've made some gains on the engineering front to try and get the car a little more suited to my style which will hopefully allow me to attack more.
"I know we all go racing to win but at this point of the season and with the way the championship's shaped out, it's looking a bit like Jonathan's (Bomarito) title to lose. He's the one with the target on his back so he might have to play things a little carefully as he has the most to lose. From our point of view, if we don't leave New Jersey with a win and he's up on the podium again, it pretty much writes off our chances. We're going all out to end the season on a high starting with this weekend!"
Heading to the 2.25-mile New Jersey Motorsport Park, Hinchcliffe this season holds five top-five finishes, three podiums -- including his Round 2 victory, and two pole positions from five top-five starts.