Saturday, September 13, 2008

Pole Position Scored By Pacific Coast Motorsports’ Skerlong

Carl Skerlong at speed during testing at New Jersey Motorsports Park’s Thunderbolt Raceway. Image Credit: Phil Sedgwick – CCWS (2008)

Pole Position Scored By Pacific Coast Motorsports’ Skerlong (almost)

While it has been a tough transition for Pacific Coast Motorsports and their driver Mario Dominguez, over at the IRL, the fortunes of the young Atlantic Championship Series (ACS) open wheel racing team has shown steady growth all season long.

Today, for example, Carl Skerlong driving the #14 King Taco/Mazda/Swift/Cooper Tires sponsored car scores provisional pole at the New Jersey Motorsports Park’s Thunderbolt Raceway.

His teammate Frankie Muniz (yes, that Frankie Muniz - star of the Fox Network television situation comedy, Malcolm in the Middle) driving the #41 PCM/Mazda/Swift/Cooper Tires sponsored car started the day sixth quick in warm-up and finished qualifying P11 for the Mazda Formula Zoom Zoom to be run Sunday, September 14, 2008 at the 2.25-Mile Permanent Road Course at Millville, New Jersey.

Carl Skerlong driving the #14 King Taco/Mazda/Swift/Cooper Tires sponsored car is almost ready to get his second pole start of the season ... if all goes right tomorrow. Image Credit: Phil Sedgwick – CCWS (2008)
Carl on qualifying: “I am so excited to take the provisional today. I’m always fast in practice sessions, but to do it in the session that counts is just incredible. I’m so happy to have been fastest in every session this weekend so far, and I’m hoping to keep it that way in the race. I want to give a big thanks to the team, especially my engineer, Burke Harrison, and my driver coach, Lee Bentham, because they’ve been fantastic, and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them. I know I have the car to win, but it’s up to me to do it.”

Frankie Muniz driving the #41 PCM/Mazda/Swift/Cooper Tires sponsored car improves position in every race. Image Credit: Phil Sedgwick – CCWS (2008)

Frankie on qualifying: “After ending up sixth in a great practice session this morning, I’m not happy with my qualifying result this afternoon. I got held up behind two of the slower cars which affected my lap times. I used a lap to gap myself from those cars, but I ended up just catching up to them when I did a fast lap which really frustrated me. The good news is that I was only .2 away from P8, so being that close is going to be great for the hunt in the race tomorrow. I want to thank all the guys for being here and working hard for me this weekend.”

Carl Skerlong logged a best lap at 1:10.801 (110.693 mph) to take the number one position by nearly four tenths of a second over rookie Jonathan Summerton of Newman Wachs Racing (yes, that Newman – Paul Newman). Skerlong earned a bonus championship point for his efforts and will be looking to claim the second pole position of his Atlantic career on Sunday morning in final qualifying, which will be held a few hours prior to the race.

At this point in the season (with New Jersey being the first of the last three races of the season), Carl is running seventh, sixty points behind leader (Jonathan Bomarito who’s driving the Mathiasen Motorsports, #26 Del Taco/Stone Brewing/Rockview Builders/RLM Investments car in the championship) and Frankie is sitting at twelfth.

Carl Skerlong leads Kevin Lacroix into the corner during qualifications. Image Credit: Phil Sedgwick – CCWS (2008)

This excerpted and edited from Atlantic Championship Series (ACS) –

Skerlong Takes Provisional Pole for Mazda Formula X at New Jersey Motorsports Park
September 13, 2008

MILLVILLE, N.J. - "It's been going great so far," Skerlong said. “The morale has been good all weekend. Hopefully, we'll be able to take it tomorrow. The weather is going to probably going to play a part in it. There is possibly going to be some rain tonight, and we saw how that affected the track this morning. Hopefully we can keep it going and finally have that win that we've been looking for."

Summerton was second on the provisional grid with a lap at 1:11.194 (110.082 mph) in the No. 36 Newman Wachs Racing entry. The Rookie of the Year points leader owns two top-three starting spots thus far in 2008 and he will be looking to cut into his current, 28-point deficit to overall championship leader Jonathan Bomarito. He will also be looking for his third victory of the season on Sunday.

"As I've said all weekend, it's fun to be out there," said Summerton. "It gets dirty very quickly, though, when people drop a wheel, it brings the dirt on. We were struggling with that in the last couple of laps and couldn't go any faster. It was a little disappointing, because we had the speed to be on pole. Hopefully, tomorrow it stays dry and we can be on pole."

Dane Cameron made it a sweep of the top-three positions for American drivers in provisional qualifying when he clocked the third-quickest lap of the session at 1:11.198 (110.076 mph) in the No. 19 MAZDASPEED/Finlay Motorsports/Lynx Racing machine for Genoa Racing. The rookie took his first career Atlantic pole position for Round 6 at Road America last month and has finished inside the top five in five of his last six starts. He heads into Sunday's race looking for his first career Atlantic victory.
Finnish driver Markus Niemela made it three rookies inside the top four with a fourth-place qualifying performance at 1:11.339 (109.859 mph) in the No. 8 Mr. Jones Bar & Kitchen/Rauma Town/Turku Karting machine for Brooks Associates Racing. Niemela is currently tied for third in the overall championship standings with James Hinchcliffe and trails Summerton by eight points in the Rookie of the Year point standings.

Niemela's Brooks Associates Racing teammate Tom Sutherland was fifth in the No. 88 ClickAway Computers & Networking machine at 1:11:369 (109.812 mph). Sutherland started a career-best fifth for Round 7 at Road America in August and will be making his sixth Atlantic start of the season in the Mazda Formula X.

Bomarito took sixth on the provisional grid at 1:11.438 (109.706 mph) in the No. 26 machine, followed by Hinchcliffe in the No. 3 Indeck/Tire Rack/NOCO machine from Forsythe/Pettit Racing at 1:11.569 (109.506 mph). Dutch racer Junior Strous was eighth at 1:11.637 (109.402 mph) in the No. 6 NEM/Shell/HTP/Muermans Group/Red, White & Bluezz mount from Condor Motorsports/Team Holland, with Mexican racer David Martinez ninth in the No. 7 Axtel/Tecate/Madisa machine at 1:11.703 (109.301 mph) for Forsythe/Pettit Racing. Kevin Lacroix completed the top 10 at 1:11.790 (109.168 mph).

The top-10 drivers in provisional qualifying were covered by less than one second.

• After turning in the sixth-quickest time in practice on Saturday morning, New Jersey native Frankie Muniz was 11th in provisional qualifying with a best lap at 1:11.890 (109.017 mph) in the No. 41 PCM/USRT machine for Pacific Coast Motorsports. The best starting spot of Muniz's Atlantic career was 13th for Round 7 at Road America last month.
Reference Here>>

... notes from The EDJE

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