The race winners in the Atlantic Championship double-header at Road America proved to be a carbon copy of the Rexall Edmonton Indy double-header two weeks ago, as American rookie Jonathan Summerton won the second race of the weekend one day after Jonathan Bomarito had taken race one.
Summerton charged from ninth on the grid to take the lead from Bomarito in turn one with two laps remaining, and held off his countryman by 1.084secs to take victory in the #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 earned Summerton a bonus point for most positions improved from start to finish.
“We came from the back, coming from ninth spot,” the rookie 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, and we gained a couple positions on each one.
"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. 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 one, coupled with his second-place run in race two, moved him to the top of the point standings with four of eleven races still remaining on the schedule. He now leads Canadian James Hinchcliffe by three points, 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.
“It feels good to be at the top of the championship points, for sure,” he said, “After Laguna Seca, when we DNF'd, 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 #17 Genoa Racing entry for TK Motorsports Inc. On Saturday, the Estonian picked up his first Atlantic podium since the 2005 season and the back-to-back podiums were his first in Atlantics 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 admitted, “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 Kevin Lacroix capped an eventful race in the #25 Walker Racing entry to finish fourth. It was Lacroix's best result since a third-place performance in the season-opener at Long Beach and was his fourth top ten of the year. Carl Skerlong scored his fifth top-five result of the season with a fifth-place performance in the #14 King Taco machine for Pacific Coast Motorsports.
A second straight sixth-place run for Niemela and Brooks Associates Racing enabled the Finn to maintain the lead in the rookie of the year standings, but he now holds a reduced 16-point advantage over Summerton, after Dane Cameron saw his streak of top five finishes snapped at four due to a spin after contact with Simona de Silvestro on lap eleven. Both cars slid off track and brought out a full-course caution, but both managed to continue in the race, albeit one lap down. Cameron finished 17th and de Silvestro 18th, although Cameron managed to earn a bonus point for turning the fastest lap.
Hinchcliffe came into the weekend as the points leader, but will return home for next weekend's race at Trois-Rivieres staring at a three-point deficit to Bomarito after finishing eighth in the #3 Forsythe/Pettit Racing machine. Fellow Canadian Daniel Morad earned his fifth top ten result of the season with ninth for Eurointernational, while Frankie Muniz picked up his best result of the season to date with tenth place for Pacific Coast Motorsports.