Contact Puts Skerlong Out in Toronto Toronto, Canada -- Carl Skerlong was forced to retire in Toronto on Sunday but he was still classified 15th at the finish as the Canadian city hosted a wet and wild Round 8 of the 2007 Cooper Tires...
Contact Puts Skerlong Out in Toronto
Toronto, Canada -- Carl Skerlong was forced to retire in Toronto on Sunday but he was still classified 15th at the finish as the Canadian city hosted a wet and wild Round 8 of the 2007 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda.
A stop-start meeting with treacherous track conditions thanks to torrential rain ended in disappointment for the American rookie as he was taken out of the race under the second full course caution period, contact from behind sending the 18-year-old from Seattle crashing out from a promising ninth place run on the 1.75-mile temporary street circuit.
Skerlong had qualified his #24 King Taco/US RaceTronics Swift-Mazda Cosworth 13th on the grid for Sunday's 50-minute street sprint, his fastest lap a 1m06.451s (95.078mph) to pole-sitter Raphael Matos' 1m05.621s (96.280mph). The reigning Formula TR Pro Series 2000 Champion followed that up with an encouraging outing in Sunday morning's warm-up session, posting the fourth fastest lap time from the 23 car field -- Carl eager to claim his first top-ten finish since last month's fourth round in Portland when he took eighth at the flag.
While consistency has been key to Skerlong's solid season, with points scoring finishes in all but the season-opener placing him ninth overall in the Driver Standings heading into Sunday's race, the Canadian weather threw a curve ball into the proceedings with a downpour welcoming the field as they took the start armed with slick tires. Presented with a full-course caution almost immediately as track conditions caught some drivers out, Carl climbed two spots to 11th before the race was red flagged on lap three to allow the field to pit for rain tires.
At the re-start Skerlong was closing in on his US RaceTronics team-mate, Mexico's David Garza, the duo running in ninth and tenth respectively. Both drivers gained a slot courtesy of incidents further up the field but their running was short lived as a second full-course caution arrived on lap nine. What followed was unprecedented as the pack bunched up behind the safety car. Its deployment caught some off-guard, despite the track's 'yellow' status, with Carl collected violently from behind by Adrian Carrio -- the US RaceTronics racer forced out on the spot but eventually classified 15th overall collecting six more points.
France's Franck Perera won the chaotic 28-lap race, his second consecutive win, followed by America's Jon Edwards and series leader, Brazil's Raphael Matos in third.
"Well looking at the positives I scored points and still hold ninth in the standings," said Skerlong. "It was just nuts out there today. We run well in the wet and we would have been right up there at the end if we hadn't been taken out. It's just one of those things I guess but it's a shame as the team did a great job all weekend. The situation should have been avoided by the other party but it wasn't!"
Round 8 from Toronto will be broadcast on ESPN2 on Wednesday 11th July starting at 5pm EST.
Rounds 9 and 10 of the 2007 Champ Car Atlantic Championship will be hosted at Edmonton's 1.973-mile City Centre Airport, Alberta, Canada, Friday 20th -- Sunday 22nd July