Championship Contenders Pace Friday Atlantic Practice
Millville, NJ - As the fight for the 2015 Atlantic Championship Series enters its final four rounds and two weekends, the two drivers vying for the title were each quick during practice. Points leader Keith Grant set the fastest overall time on the day with a lap of 1:11.761, while his main title-rival Conner Kearby showed his pace in the morning session with the best time.
In the opening practice of the day at the 2.25-mile track, Championship contender C. Kearby set the pace in the Atlantic field. Switching chassis for the weekend, C. Kearby put his No. 56 K-Hill Swift 016/Mazda at the top with a fast lap of 1:12.192, and just under five tenths of second fastest.
Kearby’s morning pace was well under both existing Atlantic track records as the pro Atlantic field went even quicker later in the day.
New Jersey marks the home race for K-Hill Motorsports, which is fielding a large Atlantic contingent, expanded three-car F1600 team, as well as an F2000 effort and is planning a large USF4 program for 2016.
Garth Rickards, the 2014 F1600 Championship Series runner-up, was the driver in second on the morning time sheets as he propelled his K-Hill No. 83 Swift 016/Mazda to second best in his first start in the Atlantic Series since VIR in early June.
Keyvan Andres was just a tenth off Rickards with the third fastest time. Andres has an impressive stat-line in his appearances this season, with a double-win at Watkins Glen in May and a single victory at VIR – marking three wins in five starts. In a solo race start at Pittsburgh in early August, Andres started from the back of the field, storming through the pack before contact cut a tire and ended his day.
Gaston Kearby was fourth quick in the morning session, besting Championship points leader Grant, who is coming off two dominating victories at Pittsburgh.
After being slightly down the time sheets in the first session of the day, Keith Grant roared back to pace afternoon practice with a fast lap of 1:11.751 in the No. 40 Polestar Swift 016/Mazda.
While Grant’s lap stood as quickest most of the session, it was Connor Burke that moved up the time sheets as well, as he piloted his No. 19 Company Motorsports Swift 014/Toyota to second overall, just three tenths off Grant’s lap.
Andres repeated his solid morning performance with a quick lap for third overall, with C. Kearby slipping to fourth and Rickards in fifth.
John Burke was the fastest of the Atlantic Challenge racers with a new engine in his No. 55 installed between sessions as he was sixth fastest overall, with G. Kearby in seventh and Rich Zober, Andy Schaufelberger and Lee Brahin completing the top 10.
Full results are available on www.AtlanticChampionshipSeries.com under the Results tab.
Saturday and Sunday continue the Atlantic weekend from New Jersey, with qualifying in the morning each day followed by races in the afternoons, rounds 11 and 12 and the sixth weekend of the 14-race, seven weekend season.