AOWR – Atlantics 2009 Season Review – The Mid-Season Grind

Atlantics Championship – Year In Review

The Mid-Season Grind:
The middle stretch of the season saw some big changes in the complexion of the championship. At Lime Rock Park, Simona de Silvestro continued her dominance, winning from the pole and becoming the winningest female driver in the history of the Atlantics Championship overtaking Kathryn Legge. Although neither Johnathans qualified well, starting fifth and sixth, they both improved their positions through the race with Edwards finishing on the podium in P2, and Summerton ending up in fourth. This allowed Simona to stretch out her lead in the championship, establishing a seventeen point gap between her and Edwards and Summerton who are tied for second.

Looking back, the weekend at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet was the turning point for Edwards. Both races of that weekend Edwards won from the pole making up huge ground on Simona, not that she made it easy for him. She continued her streak of podium finishes with a third and a second place finish in the two races. This extended her run to six straight podium finishes thus far. Summerton, who also had much ground to make up, finished well in the first race arriving at the checkers just behind his teammate in second place, but Race 2 didn’t go quite so well. An alternator failure put Summerton out of commission and relegating him to eleventh place, last on the grid. This was a huge blow to Summerton’s championship bid, as it put him 22 point behind his teammate for 2nd, and 27 points behind Simona who retained her lead, if only just.

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With only five more races to go, and the championship battle beginning to heat up, the series joined the ALMS and IndyCar Series at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Summerton used this weekend to make a strong surge back toward the championship lead. In qualifying, he shattered A.J. Allmendinger’s previous track record by 2.7 seconds. That record breaking performance earned him the pole, from which he raced unchallenged to the checkers to score his second race win of the season. Simona started in third and finished in second, extending her streak of podium finishes to seven races. Edwards started the race along side his teammate in second place, but he struggled to get the car off the line and quickly fell back in the pack. This would be his undoing as an incident in the Keyhole, Turn 2, on the first lap with Tonis Kasemets and Frankie Muniz would end his day and place him in 9th position for the day. Simona’s podium finish, coupled with Edwards’ first lap incident, allowed her to extend her lead in the championship to 16 points ahead of Edwards. The gap to Summerton, however, closed to 19 points. Headed into final third of the season, the championship was still anyone’s for the taking.

Tomorrow: The Home Stretch

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