Contact Blights Skerlong's Street Pace Mukilteo, Washington (August 19, 2008) -- Carl Skerlong's Trois-Rivieres weekend kicked off with a bang but unfortunately ended in retirement as Round 8 of the 2008 Cooper Tires Presents The ...
Contact Blights Skerlong's Street Pace
Mukilteo, Washington (August 19, 2008) -- Carl Skerlong's Trois-Rivieres weekend kicked off with a bang but unfortunately ended in retirement as Round 8 of the 2008 Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship played out Sunday, 17th August, on the 1.521-mile Quebec street circuit.
The 19-year-old racer arrived back in Canada targeting his first career Atlantic victory and the omens looked good as he topped the timesheets in Friday's opening practice session. Skerlong catapulted his #14 King Taco/Pacific Coast Motorsports entry around the tight confines of Trois-Rivieres in 59.853s (91.484mph) to best his closest competitor by over two tenths of a second, the only driver to break the minute mark in the session.
Fourth fastest in Friday afternoon's qualifying session was somewhat of a disappointment but the third quickest time in Saturday morning's practice session gave rise to further optimism ahead of the final qualifying run. While he held second for much of the session, traffic played its part in hampering Carl's undoubted pace and the Seattle-based racer was forced to settle for sixth on the grid as lap times then tumbled from the previous session with fellow American Jonathan Bomarito taking the pole.
Armed with a fast street course car, Skerlong wasted little time in proving his speed in Sunday's 44-lap race. Up to fifth on the opening tour, Carl's progress was halted abruptly a handful of laps later as a clash with Finland's Markus Niemela ended with the teenager heading back to the pits for a new front-wing. Carl then reeled off a series of fastest race laps and came within one car of getting back onto the lead lap when his right-rear sheer plate broke forcing an immediate retirement on lap 22. Pole-sitter and series leader Jonathan Bomarito picked up his third win of the season at the checkered.
"Considering we led the field in opening practice by over two tenths of a second, Sunday's race retirement wasn't the result we were expecting," Skerlong reflected on his return to the west coast. "I was caught up in traffic by the end of Saturday's final qualifying run so that certainly didn't allow me to make the most of the car and we ended up sixth on the grid. I actually made a decent start to the race and knew I had a faster car than the guys ahead of me.
"I had a good run on Niemela into the turn where we clashed and I certainly didn't think he was going to move back over the way he did. That left me only two options, one being to get pinched into the wall and the other being to try and back-out and hope for the best but in doing so he clipped my front-wing, which came off, and I had to head back to the pits for a replacement. I almost got back on the lead lap, I just couldn't pass Bomarito then ultimately I was forced to retire. Being realistic, winning the championship is out of reach now but third overall is probably a reasonable goal with the three races remaining."
Round 9 of the 2008 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda heads to the newest track on the calendar, New Jersey Motorsports Park, Friday 12th -- Sunday 14th September -- www.njmotorsportspark.com