David Grant took the pole. (photo: Valet)Braselton, GA – David Grant took the pole at Road Atlanta for the inaugural Atlantic Championship Series race with a lap of 1:17.570 around the 12-turn Georgia road course. Grant, driving a Swift 014/Toyota for Polestar Racing Group, will lead the field to the green for the 18 lap race alongside brother and Polestar teammate Keith Grant.

Notable on both Grant chassis is a paddle shift system, which Polestar has retrofitted to the cars for the doubleheader weekend.

“I’m extremely happy to be on pole,” said David Grant, running the Toyota 1800 engine. “We did 23 laps in that session since we had an electrical problem in practice and wanted to be sure we got a full distance in. The paddle shift was perfect, it didn’t miss at all.”

That paddle system features a gearbox control unit, which interfaces with the engine computer to control shifting, blipping on downshifts and more.

The No. 40 of Keith, meanwhile, bounced back after an engine change following a motor failure during practice.

“We tore up the first motor this morning,” said Keith. “That was an 1800, and we had a 1600 as a spare. We finished doing that about 10 minutes in the session, my shift lights weren’t right so I was short shifting and we had the wrong gears in it.”

Qualifying was run under almost ideal weather at Road Atlanta, with light clouds and temperatures in the mid 70s.

Jason Byers qualified third in the No. 28 Swift 014/Toyota. Byers lost track time during the day after the team discovered a cracked bell housing on the No. 28, but the Swan crew bounced back, fixing it in time to put Byers third on the race grid.

“I haven’t been in the car since last July,” added Byers, who said he is looking forward to dicing with the Grant brothers.

Fourth on the grid will be Bruce Hamilton, in the first of the most recent Swift 016/Mazdas, followed by Rich Zober, in the same car/engine combination.

“The car feels good,” explained Zober. “The slow turns on this track changed since the morning, and I still have some places where I can go faster. As far as the different chassis and engines, it’s too early to tell the difference.”

That difference is the subject of much debate this weekend, and Series officials will hold a “town hall” style meeting following race one on Friday.

One 25 minute qualifying and three practice sessions throughout Thursday underlined just how temperamental Atlantic chassis are. With a variety of makes, new and old Swifts, Ralts, and various engines, there were issues during the day, leaving teams with little downtime.

Friday starts with a 8:15am warmup, and the Atlantic Championship Series will race at 3:00pm for 18 laps. Saturday sees a 9:30am qualifying session followed by a 12:30pm race. Qualifying and races will feature live audio on www.livestream.com/F2000. News, results, updates and photos will be available on www.AtlanticChampionshipSeries.com.

Qualifying Order:

Pos No. Name Best Tm Best Spd In Lap Diff Gap
1 12 David Grant 1:17.605 117.827 20 - -
2 40 Keith Grant 1:19.448 115.094 7 +1.843 +1.843
3 28 Jason Byers 1:19.695 114.737 9 +2.090 +0.247
4 36 Bruce Hamilton 1:20.442 113.672 9 +2.837 +0.747
5 66 Rich Zober 1:20.920 113.000 16 +3.315 +0.478
6 55 John Burke 1:20.974 112.925 4 +3.369 +0.054
7 2 Theodoras Zorbas 1:23.599 109.379 8 +5.994 +2.625
8 29 Joe Blacker 1:25.556 106.877 7 +7.951 +1.957
9 11 Dwight Rider 1:25.786 106.591 5 +8.181 +0.230
10 31 Charles Finelli 1:26.242 106.027 8 +8.637 +0.456
11 6 Mirl Swan -.--- - 0 - -
12 71 Mike Mallinen -.--- - 0 - -

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