Summerton Scores in Second Half of Road America Doubleheader
The race winners of the Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda doubleheader at Road America were a carbon copy of the Rexall Edmonton Indy doubleheader two weeks ago, as American rookie Jonathan Summerton won the second race of the doubleheader one day after Jonathan Bomarito won the first race of the weekend.
Summerton charged from ninth on the starting grid to take the lead from Bomarito in Turn 1 with two laps remaining and held off his countryman by 1.084 seconds to get the victory in the No. 36 Newman Wachs Racing machine. It was the deepest in the field an Atlantic race winner had started since Andrew Bordin also started ninth and won at Vancouver in 1998, and the run earned Summerton a bonus point for most positions improved from start to finish. It was Summerton’s second career Atlantic victory and his fifth top-six performance in seven races.
“We came from the back, coming from ninth spot,” Summerton said. “We had a great start, but we were hit after the first corner, which dropped us down a few places. Then, of course, the yellows came out and I think that helped us a bit for the restarts. We gained a couple positions on each restart. Of course, at the end there, it was a very hard battle with Jonathan. We were only closing very slightly and when I got very close, I’d lose all my downforce. It was a very hard run there at the end. I made a little mistake, and I think Jonathan made a little mistake at the very end, and I think both of us did a very good job. We were pulling away from the rest of the field. I was quite happy to finish up there on the top spot.”
After coming into the weekend third in the championship, Bomarito’s victory in Race #1 coupled with his second-place run in Race #2 moved the Californian to the top of the Atlantic Championship point standings with four of 11 races still remaining on the schedule. He now leads Canadian racer James Hinchcliffe by three points, 157-154, with Finnish rookie Markus Niemela just six points out of the lead. It was Bomarito’s third podium result of the season and his fifth top-five result in seven races this year in the No. 26 Del Taco/Stone Brewing/Discount Tire/RLM Investments entry for Mathiasen Motorsports.
“It feels good to be at the top of the championship points, for sure,” Bomarito said. “After Laguna Seca, when we DNF’d (did not finish) there, I knew it was going to be a long road back up to the top. Actually, I’m surprised that we were able to do it so soon. I figured it would take right up until, probably, the last race to make up those points. So, it feels great to be back up there. The team is really gelling, the car’s been really great, and hopefully we can keep this trend throughout the rest of the year, and hopefully we can finish up top.”
For the second consecutive race, Atlantic veteran Tonis Kasemets finished third in the No. 17 Genoa Racing entry for TK Motorsports Inc. On Saturday, Kasemets picked up his first Atlantic podium result since the 2005 season and the back-to-back podiums were the first in Atlantic competition for Kasemets since he won the penultimate race of the season at Road America and finished second in the season finale at Montreal in 2005.
“Today was a lot harder,” Kasemets said. “Probably the track conditions for my car were a little bit not so good as it was yesterday. Yesterday, it would have been easy, and I finished third yesterday. I still need to learn from the starts. It’s too bad there were so many yellows. If it would have stayed green, I probably would have been second. I don’t know if I would have won it, but third is great and good for Genoa Racing.”
Canadian driver Kevin Lacroix capped an eventful race in the No. 25 Uni-Select/Deans Knight/Wasteco entry from Walker Racing to finish fourth. It was Lacroix’s best result since a third-place performance in the 2008 season-opener at Long Beach and was his fourth top-10 result of the year. Carl Skerlong scored his fifth top-five result of the season with a fifth-place performance in the No. 14 King Taco machine for Pacific Coast Motorsports. It was also his third consecutive top-five run.
• A sixth-place run for Niemela in the No. 8 Mr. Jones Bar & Kitchen/Rauma Town/Turku Karting machine for Brooks Associates Racing enabled the Finn to maintain the lead in the Rookie of the Year point standings. With 151 points, Niemela holds a 16-point advantage over Summerton in the rookie race.
• Hinchcliffe came into the weekend as the Atlantic Championship points leader but the Canadian will return to his home country for next weekend’s race at Trois-Rivieres, Quebec with a three-point deficit to Bomarito. Hinchcliffe finished eighth in the No. 3 Indeck/Tire Rack/NOCO machine for Forsythe/Pettit Racing.
• Canadian rookie Daniel Morad earned his fifth top-10 result of the season with a ninth-place performance in the No. 70 Metro Directories of Georgia/Grapeking machine for Eurointernational.
• Frankie Muniz picked up his best result of the season to date with a 10th-place run in the No. 41 PCM/USRT machine for Pacific Coast Motorsports. Muniz’s previous best result was 11th in Round 3 at Mont-Tremblant.
• Rookie Dane Cameron saw his streak of top-five finishes snapped at four straight races due in large part to a spin after contact with Simona De Silvestro on Lap 11. Both Cameron’s No. 19 MAZDASPEED/Finlay Motorsports Lynx Racing machine and De Silvestro’s No. 34 Nuclear Clean Air Energy/NEI/Entergy car slid off-course and brought out a full-course caution, but both drivers managed to continue in the race, albeit one lap down. Cameron finished 17th and De Silvestro was 18th, and Cameron also earned a bonus point for turning the fastest lap in the race at 2:01.172 (120.265 mph) on Lap 18 of the 20-lap race.
||Jonathan Summerton (R)
||Markus Niemela (R)
||Daniel Morad (R)
||Luis Schiavo (R)
||Greg Mansell (R)
||Henri Karjalainen (R)
||Douglas Soares (R)
||Dominick Muermans (R)
||Dane Cameron (R)
||Simona De Silvestro
||Leo Mansell (R)