Summerton edges Edwards for Mid-Ohio pole

Jonathan Summerton just eclipsed his teammate at Newman Wachs Racing, John Edwards, in the battle for pole position for tomorrow's Atlantic Championship race at Mid-Ohio. Summerton secures his third pole of the season and fourth of his career, his...

Jonathan Summerton just eclipsed his teammate at Newman Wachs Racing, John Edwards, in the battle for pole position for tomorrow's Atlantic Championship race at Mid-Ohio. Summerton secures his third pole of the season and fourth of his career, his first this season for NWR after rejoining the team.

"I'd just like to thank the team, definitely, for everything they've done," Summerton said. "A lot of hard work went into the car for the session today. We've got two birthdays we're celebrating today, my engineer (Don Hallliday) and also (crew member) David (Marquez) from the team, and it's just great to put 1-2 for Newman Wachs and both of them for their birthdays. I'd just like to say 'Thanks again' to (team owner) Eddie (Wachs) for giving me the opportunity that I have.

In the series' first visit to the circuit since 2003, Summerton blew the old track record out of the water. The prospective USF1 hopeful demolished the mark set by A.J. Allmendinger, with today's time of 1:12.970 nearly three seconds up on Allmendinger's old time of 1:15.668.

Summerton and Edwards lock out the front row for NWR as they did two weeks ago at the Autobahn Country Club, but in reverse order. An intense intra-squad battle ended when Summerton stopped the clocks as the first and only driver under a 1:13 lap time.

"The lap that we did, I was calm and everything went out way and then I came through our timing beacon on our dash and it was a really good lap," Summerton said. "I tried holding it together and I made a little mistake in the last corner, but we were able to hold P1 with that, so I'm very happy with everything that went on. To come out on top and be leading the race tomorrow at the start, I think, there's a good chance of us winning."

In the second half of the 45-minute session, Summerton and Edwards traded fastest laps. Despite the battle to be number one within the team hierarchy, their main goal is to focus on the championship.

Edwards enters this race down five points to Simona de Silvestro (119-114), with Summerton third on 92 points. This is the eighth round of the 12-round championship, so the home stretch is nearing as NWR looks to wrest the title away from de Silvestro.

"Once again, it's a really great day for Newman Wachs Racing locking out the front row for tomorrow's race," said Edwards. "Obviously, I'd like the roles to be reversed, but the important thing for me is I'm ahead of Simona."

De Silvestro was one-tenth adrift of Edwards, her best time of 1:13.243 just short of Edwards' 1:13.150. She goes into tomorrow's race seeking her seventh straight podium finish and not wanting to lose too much ground in the standings.

"We went a little bit in the wrong way with some changes," de Silvestro said. "I think we should have kept the car like it was, but we gave it a shot. It could have been much better, but I'm happy with P3. I think we have a good racecar for the race tomorrow."

Borja Garcia has been top rookie all weekend, the Spaniard driving for Condor Motorsports pacing the two morning practice sessions and slotting in fourth on the grid. At one point during the session, Garcia led the quartet of top qualifiers by all of .033 of a second, combined!

Markus Niemela completed the top five for Jensen Motorsport, with the balance of the top ten Frederic Vervisch, Frankie Muniz, Tonis Kasemets, James Winslow and Max Lefevre.

In C2, track veteran but Atlantic series debutante Hans Peter led the three entries, 11th overall and only 1.7 seconds off the slowest Swift 016.a chassis in an older Swift 014.a for Team Phenix/Swan Racing. Michael Mallinen returns after a two-race hiatus with team owner Mirl Swan sitting out today's sessions.

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Series Atlantic
Drivers A.J. Allmendinger , Hans Peter , Tonis Kasemets , Borja Garcia , Simona de Silvestro , Frederic Vervisch , Jonathan Summerton , James Winslow , John Edwards , Max Lefevre , Markus Niemela , Michael Mallinen , Frankie Muniz