Atlantic Championship Tightens, Pace Quickens
Salem, NH - The Atlantic Championship Series has four races remaining in the 2017 season, and the title battle has tightened even further with Peter Portante holding a narrow, 39 point lead over David Grant, who leads brother Keith Grant by just five points. Pace was the big story at Pittsburgh International Race Complex, with Keith Grant demolishing the standing overall track record as both Swift 016 and Swift 014 entrants ran fast laps.
David Grant would reset the race track record for Atlantic on his way to the victory for Polestar on Sunday, with a lap of 1:31.584. A day prior it was Keith Grant with the fastest lap ever set on the 19-turn course with a time of 1:31.031 during Saturday morning qualifying.
"The Series has been very competitive this year," said Grant. "The addition of Peter and David has raised the level of competition this year. Any one of us can win at any given time and no one can afford to make mistakes. Unfortunately, I had the pleasure of watching the race Sunday, considering my engine problems in Sunday qualifying. I noticed each driver in the race was battling another car for position at some point in the race and no one was running alone. This is what every driver shows up for."
Comprent Motorsports driver Bob Corliss was also well under the race track record on Sunday in the No. 17 Swift 014/Toyota, running the third fastest lap of the race at 1:32.069.
Smashing the previous record by nearly one second in his Swift 014, Corliss noted that multiple factors contributed including the newly paved surface and continuing improvements in the Toyota 1600 powerplant.
"In the final analysis this is a team sport where all of the pieces need to fit together and perform well to be successful. Our mechanics and engineers at Comprent did an outstanding job getting the car ready and of particular note, our Hasselgren motor performed at a very high level. We had power everywhere we needed it and all I had to do was stay on the throttle, point the car and enjoy the ride," said Corliss.
Grant added: "I can’t honestly tell you which car is faster now. The 014s have seen some significant gains in over the last three years. The 014’s are still better handling cars in turns under 100mph as they are much lighter than the 016. With the additional power, they are extremely competitive now considering they are seeing the same top speeds as the 016s. I believe an 014 can win races given the right driver/team combination."
Atlantic Championship Series drivers next head to Summit Point, August 25-27, followed by the season finale at New Jersey Motorsports Park, October 6-8.