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Niemela wins Miller Atlantics.


Markus Niemela became the seventh different winner of the 2008 Atlantic Championship after claiming victory in the penultimate rounds of the season at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah.

The Finnish rookie completed his sweep of the weekend by leading from pole, and remains one of three drivers still in mathematical contention for the championship heading to Road Atlanta in two weeks' time.

Niemela led every lap in his Brooks Associates Racing entry to win by 0.446secs over American rookie Jonathan Summerton, closing the gap between them at the top of the rookie of the year standings. It was Niemela's fourth top-two result of the season, and the third Atlantic victory for BAR, following Kevin Lacroix's success at Portland last year.

“I'm so happy," Niemela said, "I know everybody says this every time, but the team did a fantastic job and, seriously, this victory goes as much to them as to me. Also, for my team-mate, Tom Sutherland, as he really has brought so much into this team when he came a couple of races ago. It helps a lot with the set-up, and I was able to learn some corners from him during the week. He was able to learn from me, obviously, but it's really good to have him here. We're getting good results from this.

"I'm just so happy and it's a so important victory. It is extremely important for me and my career. During the race, actually, it twice came into my head that 'I just cannot lose this'. I don't know how I would feel after finishing second and, fortunately, I don't have to have that feeling now. I just can't be happier.”

Niemela's victory and Summerton's second place, coupled with a sixth-place performance from points leader Jonathan Bomarito, pushes the championship battle to the season finale at Road Atlanta in two weeks. Just ten points separate the top three, with Bomarito holding an eight-point advantage over Summerton and Niemela sitting another two points back.

The runner-up result for Summerton was his fourth consecutive podium result in the #36 Newman Wachs Racing machine and his fifth podium in his past six starts. He actually led the field through turn one on the opening lap, but race officials determined that he crept at the standing start and ordered him to surrender the position to Niemela, which he did before the completion of the first lap.

There was no let-up in the pressure on Niemela, however, but Summerton was never able to retake the lead during the 50-minute race. The result means that the American now leads Niemela by just two points in the rookie standings.

“I was happy to be second,” Summerton insisted, “Being on the podium is always a good thing. The start was a little bit disappointing, but I'm real happy with a second place. We're coming out with the rookie lead and, hopefully, we can win the championship in Atlanta. I think we're eight points behind, so hopefully we can win that.”

Dane Cameron made it a rookie podium sweep with third place for Genoa Racing, his second podium result of the season.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Markus Niemela - Brooks Associates Racing   [pic credit: Atlantic Championship/Phil Sedgwick]
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, August 17, 2014 at The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wisconsin. Power has the driver championship points lead heading into the final two races of the season.  (Photo by Lesley Ann Miller/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, August 17, 2014 at The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wisconsin. Power has the driver championship points lead heading into the final two races of the season.  (Photo by Lesley Ann Miller/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, August 17, 2014 at The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wisconsin. Power has the driver championship points lead heading into the final two races of the season.  (Photo by Lesley Ann Miller/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Sebastien Bourdais, driver of the #11 Hydroxycut KVC Racing Technology Chevrolet IndyCar V6 races to a fourth-place finish Saturday, May 10, 2014 during the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Geoffrey M. Miller for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Hunter-Reay, driver of the #1 DHL Andretti Autosport Chevrolet IndyCar celebrates in victory lane after winning the Milwaukee IndyFest race at the Milwaukee Mile Saturday, June 15, 2013 in West Allis, Wisconsin. (Photo by Lesley Ann Miller for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Hunter-Reay, driver of the #1 DHL Andretti Autosport Chevrolet IndyCar celebrates in victory lane after winning the Milwaukee IndyFest race at the Milwaukee Mile Saturday, June 15, 2013 in West Allis, Wisconsin. (Photo by Lesley Ann Miller for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Hunter-Reay, driver of the #1 DHL Andretti Autosport Chevrolet IndyCar celebrates his victory after winning the Milwaukee IndyFest race at the Milwaukee Mile Saturday, June 15, 2013 in West Allis, Wisconsin. (Photo by Lesley Ann Miller for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Hunter-Reay, driver of the #1 DHL Andretti Autosport Chevrolet IndyCar crosses the finish line to win the Milwaukee IndyFest race at the Milwaukee Mile Saturday, June 15, 2013 in West Allis, Wisconsin. (Photo by Lesley Ann Miller for Chevy Racing)
Marco Andretti, driver of the #25 RC Cola Andretti Autosport Chevrolet IndyCar, captures the pole with the fastest lap Friday, June 14, 2013 for Saturday`s Milwaukee IndyFest race at the Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wisconsin. (Photo by Lesley Ann Miller for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 AAA Insurance Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar celebrates in victory lane after winning the Firestone 500 Saturday, June 8, 2013 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Lesley Ann Miller for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 AAA Insurance Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar celebrates in victory lane after winning the Firestone 500 Saturday, June 8, 2013 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Lesley Ann Miller for Chevy Racing)
Markus Niemela - Newman Wachs Racing   [pic credit: Atlantic Championship/Phil Sedgwick]
Simona de Silvestro - Team Stargate Worlds
Jonathan Summerton - Newman Wachs Racing   [pic credit: Atlantic Championship/Phil Sedgwick]
Carl Skerlong - Pacific Coast Motorsports   [pic credit: Atlantic Championship/Phil Sedgwick]
Carl Skerlong - Pacific Coast Motorsports   [pic credit: Atlantic Championship/Phil Sedgwick]
Jonathan Summerton - Newman Wachs Racing   [pic credit: Atlantic Championship/Phil Sedgwick]

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