Casual race fans could not be blamed if they start thinking that the winner of each of the 2008 Atlantic race was chosen by drawing straws. After all, with a few drivers and teams dominating almost every other series, how does one describe a...
Casual race fans could not be blamed if they start thinking that the winner of each of the 2008 Atlantic race was chosen by drawing straws. After all, with a few drivers and teams dominating almost every other series, how does one describe a series that has had five different winners in five different races? Exciting? Dynamic? Unique? Good start!
Actually, it was American Jonathan Summerton who had a fantastic start -- vaulting from P3 to the lead on the standing start at the converted airport track at Edmonton. Polesitter Carl Skerlong and his front row mate Dane Cameron didn't have bad starts so much as lacking the rocketing start that made it "Summer-time" in Edmonton. It was the second win of the season for Newman-Wachs racing, as Jonathan's teammate, Simona De Silvestro -- who finished last today -- took the season opener in Long Beach. While he's too young to drink champagne at the age of 20 in much of the US, Canada made the driver of the #36 car feel right at home.
"It feels awesome to win a race the fifth race in," Summerton said. "I'm real happy. We had a couple of races before where we should have been up there, but it didn't come our way. Now, we've put it together. The team did a great job. (Team owner) Eddie Wachs supports me very well. I'd like to just thank the team for doing such a great job all weekend, consistently running the car and keeping the car out there, and putting the car together all the time."
It was a United States one two as Seattle native Skerlong, driving the #14 King Taco car brought home another podium finish for Pacific Coast Motorsports. Of course, Skerlong battled a cold most of the weekend and also did not was just not able to match Summerton's performance.
"On the start, we just didn't have it," Skerlong said. "We didn't have a horrible start, just not as good as Jonathan did. For the most part this year, it's been if we finish, we can finish on the podium. It's just been actually getting to the checkered flag that's been our struggle so far. We've had a good car. There's been maybe two sessions all year that we've been out of the top five. If we can keep that going and just get a little more consistent and have luck go our way a little bit, I think we'll definitely be pretty good for the rest of the season and finally be able to be on the top of the podium one of these times."
Canadian James Hinchcliffe lead the up North contingent with a third place finish and again took the championship points lead. Countryman Kevin Lacroix, driver of the #7 Forsythe Racing car, finished seventh, just ahead of their fellow Canadian, Daniel Morad, finishing eighth in the #8 Eurointernational car. And this may be a first in international racing in Canada, in that all three Canadian drivers finished exactly in the same position as their car numbers!
It wasn't all bad, I guess," Hinchcliffe said. "When you manage to improve on your starting position, it's usually a good day. I still don't think we quite had the car this weekend. It was a little bit off pace and you could see that in the race. The car was pretty strong early on. I managed to get a good start and move up into third position. Carl actually tapped the wall. I thought, 'Oh yeah, this time I've got him,' and he just kept going. I don't know how he does it. I don't know what they made his car out of. He hit it and I backed off, because I thought he was going to slow down, but he didn't so I actually lost his draft.
"That's when I started losing touch with the top two. From there, I was just controlling my pace, and again, I had my mirrors full of this yellow and black car (Jonathan Bomarito), which I'm really getting tired of. Hopefully, when we get to the next race, we can start up front and pull away from everyone, so there's nobody in the mirrors. That'd be nice, but two podiums in Edmonton is a great result. The Forsythe/Pettit team was pretty good all weekend long and gave me a great car. Now, we're back in the championship lead, but it's still ridiculously close."
Yes, it's a ridiculously close championship battle. Going into the Road America double header in two weeks, Hinchcliffe has 5 whole points separating him from second place Markus Niemela of Finland. The Elkhart Lake event promises to be just as exciting as this one was.