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Atlantics prepare for title showdown.


Jonathan Bomarito, Jonathan Summerton and Markus Niemela will go head-to-head for glory as the 2008 Cooper Tires presents the Atlantic Championship powered by Mazda concludes its dramatic 35th anniversary season on Friday afternoon at Road Atlanta.

By virtue of his eight-point lead over Summerton in the standings, as well as his series-leading three victories in 2008, Bomarito and Mathiasen Motorsports will be considered the favourites heading into the weekend, where the Atlantics support the Petit Le Mans sportscar classic.

The series veteran has finished inside the top ten in nine of his ten starts in the #26 machine, including victories in the first race of the double-headers at both Edmonton and Road America, as well as at Trois-Rivieres in mid-August. That success vaulted Californian Bomarito into a 28-point lead over Summerton with three races remaining, but since the trip to Canada, he has seen his points lead shrink dramatically, as both Summerton and Niemela kept the pressure on.

While Bomarito finished ninth in round nine at New Jersey Motorsports Park, Niemela and Summerton finished second and third respectively, and at round ten - at Miller Motorsports Park - Niemela won and Summerton finished second which, coupled with a sixth-place performance by Bomarito, brought the gaps down to where they are now, with just ten points separating the top three going into the season finale.

While there are numerous scenarios for any of the three championship contenders to take the title, Bomarito can wrap up the crown with a second place race result, regardless of how well Summerton or Niemela perform.

In addition to battling for the overall championship, both Summerton and Niemela are fighting for rookie of the year honours. Summerton, who hails from Florida, currently enjoys a two-point advantage over his Finnish rival, and has taken a pair of victories as part of eight top ten finishes in the #36 Newman Wachs Racing entry as he heads to Atlanta riding a streak of four consecutive podium results.

Niemela, meanwhile, solidified his stake in the title fight with a first career Atlantic victory last time out at Miller Motorsports Park, and has finished seventh or better in nine of his ten starts aboard the #8 Brooks Associates Racing car. He is carrying the momentum of back-to-back podium results to Atlanta.

While Bomarito, Summerton and Niemela are the only drivers left in contention to win the championship this weekend, the field will include several other drivers with the potential to close out the season with a victory - and perhaps play a 'spoiler' role in the title fight.

Dutch racer Junior Strous has already won once this season and would love to finish his second Atlantic campaign with a another victory, while Canadian James Hinchcliffe makes his way to Road Atlanta looking for the third victory of his Atlantic career and his second of what has been a largely frustrating season. With her victory in the season-opening race at Long Beach, Simona de Silvestro became only the second woman in series history to win a race - after Katherine Legge - but has yet to revisit the top step.



Related Pictures

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Jonathan Bomarito - Mathiasen Motorsport   [pic credit: Atlantic Championship/Phil Sedgwick]
Will Power - Penske  [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Jones]
Will Power - Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Jones]
James Hinchcliffe back in the car at Road America - September 29 2015. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
James Hinchcliffe back in the car at Road America - September 29 2015. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
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Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, celebrates his third place finish Sunday, August 22, 2015, in the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. Montoya will start the 2.385-mile, 12-turn Sonoma Raceway road course next weekend with a 34-point advantage in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Sage Karam climbs into his car on pit road for his qualifying run during qualifications for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon climbs into his car on pit road for his qualifying run during qualifications for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power on pit road during the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Dana Garrett for IndyCar Media)
Will Power (right), driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V6 IndyCar, celebrates his victory with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V6 IndyCar Saturday, May 9, 2015, during the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the road course of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V6 IndyCar, celebrates his victory Saturday, May 9, 2015, after winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the road course of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V6 IndyCar, races to victory Saturday, May 9, 2015, during the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the road course of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Ernie Masche/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V6 IndyCar, races to victory Saturday, May 9, 2015, during the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the road course of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Scott R. LePage/LAT for Chevy Racing)
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Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V6 IndyCar, celebrates Friday, May 8, 2015 after winning the pole position during qualifying for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the road course of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Ernie Masche/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V6 IndyCar, celebrates Friday, May 8, 2015 after winning the pole position during qualifying for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the road course of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V6 IndyCar, qualifies fastest Friday, May 8, 2015, winning the pole position for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the road course of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Ernie Masche/LAT for Chevy Racing)

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