Burkett took the lead and pulled away at the start.Watkins Glen – Twenty-two Atlantic cars took the green flag during race one of the Watkins Glen weekend. This weekend marks the first time the Atlantic Championship Series has run the Watkins Glen International circuit. Some teams have been here before, but for many drivers, this morning’s qualifying session was the first time they had completely dry laps on this track. Due to Friday’s weather, the first practice session was rained out and the second session was done on a wet track. Teams were not able to gather much set-up information from that session, but it did allow drivers new to this track to familiarize themselves before qualifying.

The qualifying session for race one on Saturday morning was the first qualifying session for the series at this track. Being the first fast laps set by the series, the fastest lap of 1:41.391 set by Daniel Burkett, has become the qualifying track record. The young Canadian driver also laid down the fastest lap of the race. Setting the Atlantic Championship Series Watkins Glen track record with a 1:41.153.

Burkett took his third win of the Atlantic Championship Season, being one of the most special wins for the career minded driver. “It was a great race, and my father was able to be here this weekend. This is the first time he has seen me race in an Atlantic and the first time he has seen me win a race, so it is incredible special for me to have him here to witness my win”, explained Burkett. The K-Hill Motorsport driver started from pole and “started to get into a rhythm” said Burkett, allowing him to pull away from second place finisher Ethan Ringel of COMPREP Motorsports.

Ringel, another young aspiring driver, started from second, but was shuffled back a bit in the start of the race. “I was jumped by Grant in the beginning”, Ringel said, but he quickly made up the position and held second for the majority of the race. Ringel stated that “set-up played a big part in the race and I’m hopeful to even the playing field a little more tomorrow, especially since I dropped two seconds between qualifying and the race”.

Coming in third place was Burkett’s teammate Conner Kearby, who had started behind his father, Gaston, in sixth place. However, after the conclusion of the race, Kearby was penalized two positions for passing under yellow conditions. This adjustment moved Ringel’s COMPREP teammate, Matt Miller into third, his first time on the Atlantic Championship Podium. Miller was running close with 2012 second place finisher, Keith Grant.

“I have been racing with Grant for a long time. It felt really good to be able to hang in there with him”, explained Miller about running ahead of Grant. He plans to make a few changes to the car and hopes to be up in the front again tomorrow.

Polestar Motor Racing’s Keith Grant finished fourth in race one. After his penalty, Conner Kearby, rounds out the top five.

The large Atlantic field had a number of battles going on throughout the race. A very tight competitive group was battling to round out the top ten. Hunter, Mallinen, Fahan, Zober, and Hamilton continuously ran the front straight in a tight group, switching positions every lap. Yelkin joined the battle later in the race and made his way up in the group, finishing tenth over all. Simpson finished sixth, followed by Gaston Kearby, Hunter, Zober, and Yelkin.

Qualifying for Race two at Watkins Glen starts at 9:20 Sunday morning followed by the race at 3:15pm local time.

Race Results:

PosNo.NameLapsBest TmMake/ModelDiff
1 4 Daniel Burkett 15 1:41.153 Swift 016 Mazda -
2 49 Ethan Ringel 15 1:42.275 Swift 016A Mazda +14.439
3 82 Matt Miller 15 1:43.118 Swift 016.A Mazda +42.649
4 40 Keith Grant 15 1:44.181 Swift 016 Mazda +48.075
5 56 Conner Kearby 15 1:43.325 Swift 016 Mazda +42.158
6 21 Jimmy Simpson 15 1:41.373 Swift 016 Mazda +48.222
7 69 Gaston Kearby 15 1:45.596 Swift 016 Mazda +1:12.680
8 22 Tyler Hunter 15 1:44.953 Swift 014 +1:23.170
9 66 Richard Zober 15 1:44.970 Swift 016 Mazda +1:24.363
10 75 Sedat Yelkin 15 1:44.912 Swift 008 014 +1:27.502
11 06 Bruce Hamilton 15 1:45.729 Swift 014 +1:29.958
12 71 Michael Mallinen 15 1:45.459 Swift 016.A Mazda +1:34.423
13 39 Chris Fahan 15 1:46.780 Swift 016 Mazda +1:37.173
14 11 Dwight Rider 15 1:45.852 Ralt Rt-41 +1:38.474
15 70 Lewis Cooper, Jr. 14 1:46.725 Swift 014 A 1 Lap
16 74 Brian Pickering 14 1:50.532 Ralt Rt-41 +49.988
17 34 Andy Schaufelberger 14 1:52.312 Swift Mazda +1:12.429
18 3 Mark Sherwood 14 1:49.686 Ralt Rt-41 +1:12.733
19 09 J.R. Smart 13 1:56.294 Swift 014A 2 Laps
20 2 Mark Felsen 13 1:58.835 Swift 014 +24.618
21 17 Bob Corliss 12 1:46.836 Swift 014A 3 Laps
DNF 5 Bruce Crockett 4 1:48.118 Swift 014 11 Laps

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