Andres Holds off Grant for NJMP Victory
Millville, NJ – Keyvan Andres held off a charging Keith Grant in the first Atlantic Championship Series race at New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP) this weekend, and then pulled a gap to take his fourth victory of the season for K-Hill Motorsports. Andres started first, leading every lap to take the top step of the podium over points leader Grant in second, and Garth Rickards in third.
“I kept the lead and had a good fight with Keith,” said Andres, in the No. 47 Swift 016/Mazda. “I managed to get passed traffic quick which helped a lot and started driving away.”
With the green flag in the air at the start, Grant momentarily made it three wide for the lead as the field accelerated toward turn one, pulling alongside the front row of Andres and title contender Conner Kearby.
The road ran out, with Grant’s right side wheels finding the grass before he moved back into tight real estate. Turn one went smoothly at first, but on the exit, C. Kearby’s race would come to an abrupt end with an incident, marking major points implications for Grant’s closest title challenger.
After some cleanup time, the field saw the green again with Grant hassling Andres lap after lap in a three-car fight for the lead. While Grant’s Polestar machine stayed with Andres until lapped traffic came into play, it was Rickards that was on Grant’s rear wing for the duration of the race.
Grant’s second place was one spot up on his starting position, but one position down on his lap time from qualifying, as the No. 40 broke the outright track record to take pole at NJMP, but went off to bring the session to a stop. The incident cost him two grid positions in a penalty. A solid second place drive in the race, coupled with the DNF from C. Kearby, gives Grant another pile of points as he extends his Championship lead over Kearby with just three races remaining.
“Wish I could have started from the pole. I drove a smooth race the whole time, there really wasn’t an opportunity to pass him, it was so even,” said Grant. “We ran even the entire race. I have to thank Polestar for putting the whole car back together in two hours after qualifying.”
Rickards notched another Atlantic Championship Series podium with a third place drive in the No. 83 Swift 016/Mazda from K-Hill Motorsports, while Rich Zober put together a fourth place run in a solid outing to finish fourth overall for Comprent Motorsports
Winning the Atlantic Challenge in fifth was Gaston Kearby, while Bruce Hamilton and Bob Corliss, in a Comprent Swift 014/Toyota, completed the Challenge podium.
Another entertaining fight happened for seventh during the race, with Chris Ash holding off Andy Schaufelberger and Bruce Hamilton as the three cars battled. Ash failed to finish, while Schaufelberger came home sixth just ahead of Hamilton.
Full results from the race are available on www.AtlanticChampionshipSeries.com under the Results tab.
The Atlantic Championship weekend from New Jersey Motorsports Park continues on Sunday, August 30, with round 12 of the season.