Tonis Kasemets won pole in the No. 96 Swift 014/Toyota. (photo: Valet)Summit Point, WV – Tonis Kasemets flew to the Atlantic Championship Series pole at Summit Point Motorsports Park in the No. 96 K-Hill Motorsports Swift 014/Toyota. Kasemets, an Atlantic veteran, ran laps in the first practice before skipping two sessions and then easily took pole by seven tenths of a second over Connor Burke, driving a Swift 014/Toyota for Company Motorsports.

Kasemets, from Estonia but now living in the United States, was a late addition to the Atlantic Championship Series field at Summit Point. The Series concludes its six-race, three-weekend 2012 inaugural season in West Virginia this weekend.

“We knew the car was good and the team stayed up late last night getting the car prepped,” said Kasements, “thanks to K-Hill for the effort.”

Burke, meanwhile, put in his best effort of the year with a second place qualifying run in the late-afternoon 25-minute session, which saw a brief stoppage when Nick Neri broke a wheel.

“I’m really happy with the set up,” said Burke. “I’ve driven this car here with a similar set up a couple years ago, which helped. It should be a good race tomorrow.”

Burke, from Rumson, NJ, most recently ran to a second place finish at an SCCA National event at Watkins Glen International.

Championship points leader David Grant followed in third, and could clinch the title during the first race on Saturday in his No. 14 Swift 014/Toyota for Polestar Racing Group.

“The car is good, but I need some more track time,” commented Grant. “We changed springs between practices. The track is tough and narrow, but I’m confident for the races.”

Grant has won every race this season thus far, also scoring three pole positions. A potential season sweep could be in jeopardy, though, almost eight tenths off pole, but closer to Burke, just five hundredths of a second off.

Teammate and brother to David Grant, Keith, was fourth quick on the time sheets, just a hair – five thousandths of a second – off in the No. 40 Swift 014/Toyota for the Ohio-based Polestar team.

Added Keith: “We ran well but didn’t want to eat up the tires on the rough track. I thought we were faster than fourth. The times are close, it is a tight field this weekend.”

The Atlantic field has an eight tire rule at Summit Point, meaning tire conservation will be key to a successful weekend, especially as temperatures build up throughout the day.

The weekend continues with 7:50am warmup on both Saturday and Sunday, along with races at 11:45am each day (all times are eastern). Live updates and audio are available on www.atlanticchampionshipseries.com.

Qualifying Results:

Pos No. Name Best Tm Best Spd In Lap Diff Gap
1 96 Tonis Kasemets 1:04.813 111.089 6 - -
2 19 Connor Burke 1:05.551 109.838 16 +0.738 +0.738
3 12 David Grant 1:05.604 109.749 13 +0.791 +0.053
4 40 Keith Grant 1:05.609 109.741 9 +0.796 +0.005
5 55 John Burke 1:06.377 108.471 16 +1.564 +0.768
6 39 Chris Fahan 1:06.647 108.032 9 +1.834 +0.270
7 36 Bruce Hamilton 1:07.029 107.416 13 +2.216 +0.382
8 6 John Dole 1:07.393 106.836 7 +2.580 +0.364
9 66 Rich Zober 1:08.044 105.814 14 +3.231 +0.651
10 34 Andy Schaufelberger 1:09.172 104.088 15 +4.359 +1.128
11 11 Dwight Rider 1:09.243 103.982 8 +4.430 +0.071
12 31 Brendan Puderbach 1:14.114 97.148 8 +9.301 +4.871
13 151 Nick Neri -.--- - 0 - -