David Grant Wins Opening Atlantic Race
Braselton, GA – David Grant took the victory with ease in the first ever Atlantic Championship Series race at Road Atlanta by just under three and a half seconds in the Polestar Racing Group No. 12 Swift 014/Toyota. Grant, on his own birthday notably, led from pole uncontested for 18 laps, with brother and Polestar teammate Keith Grant finishing second in the No. 40 Swift 014/Toyota ahead of Jason Byers, in the No. 28 Swift 014/Toyota.
“That was a great race,” said Grant. “I need to thank my wife and Polestar. The car was just on rails the entire race. I was confident, even on the restart from the caution, because we had gapped the field.”
Grant made it a perfect day, with bonus points for pole and fastest lap. Before practice on Thursday, he had never driven the Swift 014 with its new paddle shift system, which Polestar had installed over the offseason.
Meanwhile, teammate and brother Keith finished second following an engine change on Thursday, moving him from the Toyota 1800 powerplant to the Toyota 1600 option, which revs higher, but is known to be less durable.
“Jason Byers was able to get by me on the start but I got him right now,” explained the other Grant brother, both of which hail from Germantown, TN. “He was really on me the entire race. David had more legs on the straight today, but I’m not surprised, he has been good all weekend.”
With both Grant brothers finishing one-two, it was a perfect start to the 2012 three-weekend, six-race Atlantic Championship Series for their Polestar team, which has entered the two cars and brings a long list of Atlantic success to the paddock, along with their three F2000 Championship Series entries for the weekend.
Byers rounded out the podium for Swan Racing in the No. 28, having a dice with Keith Grant for most of the race around the 12-turn, 2.54-mile Road Atlanta.
John Burke finished fourth in the No. 55 Company Motorsports Swift 014/Toyota. Bruce Hamilton rounded out the top five in a K-Hill Swift 016/Mazda, with Charles Finelli finishing sixth for Fat Boy Racing/John Walko Racing in the only Pro Formula Mazda on the entry list for the inaugural doubleheader weekend.
Rich Zober, meanwhile, started last after qualifying fifth, failing post-qualifying technical inspection on Thursday. Zober’s Swift 016/Mazda had air leaks around its intake, prompting the decision by Atlantic Championship Series officials after a thorough inspection of the top qualifiers. Zober didn’t bounce back in the race either, failing to finish with reported mechanical problems, which prompted the first and only full course caution.
The first race in Series history was run under close to perfect conditions, with light clouds and temperatures in the high seventies.
The Series is operated by Formula Race Promotions, which also puts on the successful F2000 Championship Series and the F1600 Formula F Championship Series.
Atlantic cars are joined at Road Atlanta this weekend by F2000, Global Time Attack and Formula Drift.
The weekend continues on Saturday May 12, with a 9:30am qualifying session followed by a 12:30pm race. Qualifying and the race will feature live audio on www.livestream.com/F2000. News, results, updates and photos will be available on www.AtlanticChampionshipSeries.com.
Pos No. Name Laps Total Tm Diff Gap Avg. Speed Best Tm Best Spd 1 12 David Grant 18 25:52.651 - - 106.007 1:18.015 117.208 2 40 Keith Grant 18 25:56.087 +3.436 +3.436 105.773 1:18.522 116.451 3 28 Jason Byers 18 25:56.288 +3.637 +0.201 105.759 1:18.486 116.505 4 55 John Burke 18 26:12.617 +19.966 +16.329 104.661 1:20.197 114.019 5 36 Bruce Hamilton 18 26:34.920 +42.269 +22.303 103.198 1:21.070 112.791 6 31 Charles Finelli 18 27:13.270 +1:20.619 +38.350 100.775 1:26.175 106.110 7 11 Dwight Rider 17 25:54.571 1 Lap 1 Lap 99.994 1:24.080 108.754 8 29 Joe Blacker 17 25:56.799 +2.228 +2.228 99.851 1:24.286 108.488 9 2 Theodoras Zorbas 15 22:31.527 3 Laps 2 Laps 101.485 1:24.085 108.747 DNF 66 Rich Zober 5 7:10.690 13 Laps 10 Laps 106.155 1:22.628 110.665