Ethan RingelBraselton, GA- The Atlantic Championship Series rolled out onto the 12-turn Road Atlanta track this morning for their official first practice of the season. Fifteen Atlantic cars took the track for practice, increasing the field by 50 percent from the first Road Atlanta 2012 practice, with Ethan Ringel leading the way for COMPREP over two Friday sessions.

Between both practice sessions, Ringel was out front of a deeply competitive field, setting the fastest lap of the day at 1:18.185 in his Swift 016/Mazda. For reference, the pole lap from 2012 set by a sleek and fast Swift 014 driven by now-F2000 front runner David Grant was 1:17.605.

Following a frantic morning session, many drivers said that they were looking forward to the competition level the revived Series is offering this weekend. Jimmy Simpson of Atlantic Creations was confident in his car and stated “there are a good five drivers or so that will be close competition”.

Simpson ran the fastest lap in the morning session, in a Swift 016/Mazda.

Matt Miller of COMPREP also sees the potential for good competition in the races this weekend. He hit a traffic during the morning practice session and decided to stay with the group to practice racing with this set of drivers. When asked about the potential for some close racing this weekend, Miller said “the front of the grid will be a flip of a coin”.

Polestar Motor Racing’s Keith Grant finished the morning session in close contention with Simpson and Miller. Due to traffic, he was unable to get a clean lap, he noted, and based on testing yesterday, there should be more in him and the car for the front of the grid.

The mid-afternoon second practice session saw a similar line up of drivers and times. A notable difference was Daniel Burkett, one of five K-Hill Motorsports drivers, who jumped to second on the time sheets after Ringel.

Burkett set a time quicker than the top three drivers from practice one in the morning. Most drivers were running on scrubbed tires, saving their allotted tires for qualifying tomorrow morning. Swan’s Michael Mallinen, a multiple-time SCCA National Champion, was third fastest.

Both practice session showed multiple groupings of drivers with very close fast lap times. In the morning session the top four drivers were within one second, and by the afternoon session that grew to six drivers within six tenths of a second.

Practice results seem to show that there will be a good amount of competition in tomorrow’s premier race of the 2014 season, with a large Atlantic field. Each session had at least two groupings of four to six Atlantic cars all within one second. If practice times are any indication of how the races will play out, there should be some good pack-style racing within the Atlantic Championship field.

Other notables included father and son pairing, Gaston and Conner Kearby, with Conner leading his father, with the eighth fastest lap in the afternoon session with his father following in ninth.

Among a large Comprent Motorsports group, Rich Zober was seventh and Bob Corliss was in 11th.

Atlantic practice results and time sheets are available under the results tab on AtlanticChampionshipSeries.com.

The teams, drivers, and series staff are all looking forward to competitive and exciting Atlantic Championship races this weekend. Qualifying for race one begins at 10:55am with the race at 5:15pm local time. Live timing will be available on the Atlantic Championship Series website, http://www.atlanticchampionshipseries.com.