John Edwards picked up his second Atlantic Championship victory - and led a 1-2 sweep - for Newman Wachs Racing on the team's home turf in the first race of the Harrah's Autobahn Grand Prix double-header.
Edwards started from the pole position and led every lap, beating team-mate Jonathan Summerton to the stripe by 6.486secs and head the first 1-2 sweep for Newman Wachs Racing – which is based some 60 miles from Autobahn Country Club – in three-and-a-half years of Atlantic competition.
It was Edwards' first Atlantic win since taking the season-opener at Sebring in March, and his fourth podium result of the season allowed him to move into sole possession of second place in the championship standings with half of the twelve-race season now in the books. Edwards will also start tomorrow's second half of the double-header from the pole position.
“It's never easy, but I definitely had a handle today,” Edwards said, “Once my tyres came up to temperature, the car was great and I just kept pulling away and gapping the field up to four or five seconds. Once I got the gap, I just kind of cruised, trying to maintain the same lap time. Anytime I heard someone was faster than me, I was able to go even faster the next lap.
"I've got to say, I'm a little bit disappointed that Jonathan got fast lap there on the last lap when I decided to lift since I had a four or five second gap. I think we could have pushed and challenged him for that, but good on him for doing that and I'm really happy for Eddie Wachs and the whole Newman Wachs team. It's their first 1-2. I couldn't say enough about the team. It just shows through in the results, how good a job they're doing.”
Summerton came home second in the sister car to score his fourth podium result of the season, but the first since he rejoined NWR after starting the first four races of the 2009 season with Genoa Racing. He starts second in Sunday's race.
In addition to the second-place race result, Summerton also earned the $1000 'Hard Charger' bonus and an extra championship point for moving from third on the starting grid to second at the finish, as that was enough to make him the highest finisher among the drivers who improved one spot. Summerton gained the spot after Simona de Silvestro – who started second – jumped the race start and was ordered to surrender her position. That occurred on the second standing start of the race, as a malfunction with the lights required the initial start to be aborted.
“Definitely, with the light situation there at the beginning, it was a little bit of a hiccup for everyone,” Summerton admitted, “My first start was really, really good, and I was really on the ball. Then, the second start, I just didn't get enough wheelspin. The car bogged down and I almost lost a position. It was a little scary at the beginning, but I guess Simona jumped the start and, basically, we took advantage of that. I was able to drive away from there and come back up and do that fastest lap at the end. The car's just really good.”
de Silvestro kept the pressure on Summerton throughout the 45-minute race, but was never able to retake second place. She settled for third in the leading Team Stargate Worlds entry and retained the lead in the championship standings by ten points over Edwards, with Summerton another four points behind in third.