Utah: Atlantics points for Winslow, Star Mazda victory for Christodoulou

By Andy Darley

CalendarMonday, May 18th, 2009

 
 

James Winslow remains seventh in the Atlantic Championship after the second race in the series, finishing in the points again despite having to find a new team to drive for.

The reigning Australian F3 champion competed in the season opener at Sebring for Conquest after owner Eric Bachelart called him 48 hours before the race, finishing eighth.

But with Conquest not entering the second round, held at the Miller Motorsports Park in Utah alongside the American Le Mans Series, Winslow found a ride with Toronto-based Jensen Motorsport and posted another eighth place, leading home team-mates Matt Lee and Michael Nacol.

The weekend was dominated by Switzerland’s Simona De Silvestro who ran fastest in both practice sessions, took pole in qualifying, and led every lap of the race on the way to victory. She becomes the first woman in Atlantic Championship history to win from pole, although Danica Patrick took the first pole by a woman in 2004 and Katherine Legge the first victories a year later. “It feels awesome,” she said.

Second was taken by John Edwards of Newman Wachs Racing, ahead of Genoa’s Frederic Vervisch. Actor Frankie Muniz, the teenage star of Malcolm in the Middle, did his campaign to be taken seriously as a racing driver no harm at all with a best-ever fourth place.

The Atlantic Championship was formerly the feeder championship for Champ Car, but when that series merged into the IRL it was bought by Atlanta businessman Ben Johnston and now stands alone as an open wheel driver development series.

Also appearing in Utah at the weekend was the Star Mazda Championship, where former BRDC Award finalist Adam Christodoulou emerged as championship leader following a lucky victory.

Fastest in practice and qualifying, he led from the start of the race but was overtaken by Louisiana’s Alex Ardoin on the restart following a caution period. Ardoin led most of the remainder of the race – until he accidentally hit his engine shut-off switch and handed the win to Christodoulou.

Both the Atlantic and Star Mazda Championships will next be in action on the weekend of June 13-14 at the New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, New Jersey.

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