No. 40 Keith Grant Swift 016/MazdaWatkins Glen, NY - Polestar Racing Group driver Keith Grant was able to put down the fast time for both practice one and two on Friday at Watkins Glen ahead of rounds three and four of the Atlantic Championship Series. In practice one he finished with a time of 1:43.690 and then had an even more impressive lap time of 1:42.805 in practice two, narrowly edging out Keyvan Andres for the top spot.

 Track time for practice one of the Atlantic Championship Series was cut short due to a crash that seemed to happen directly after the green flag was flown, after the incident was cleaned up, drivers were able to get in their times. Later in the day practice two took place with no stoppage but had an intense last few minutes as Andres and Grant were shaving their times down. 

Grant started off his week in a similar fashion to that of Road Atlanta where he had the fastest lap during practice two. He then later qualified on pole for both races, winning the first race of the weekend.  

“There wasn’t as much grip down today. There was a strong head wind down the backstretch that hurt our speed. Now it is about getting faster, as the rest of the field will be right there with us,” said Grant after practice one. 

Second place time setter for practice one Gaston Kearby was nearly two seconds behind Grant. 

G. Kearby did well at Road Atlanta with a first place finish in the Atlantic Challenge class in both races one and two followed by a third place finish overall in race two. 

Conner Kearby was also able to show off his consistency on the track with his second place time during practice one, he then fell back to having the third quickest time in practice two. Kearby qualified in second place behind Grant during both qualifying and went on to win race two at Atlanta. 

“The car was great and the track seemed faster last year since it’s not as hot. We came in during the first session two to three times to make changes. We’re planning to do the same thing this afternoon and continue to make improvements in getting the car ready for quality,” said C. Kearby. 

Debut drivers to Atlantic Championship 2015 season Garth Rickards and Keyvan Andres moved up in position during practice two. 

Andres was fourth quickest during practice one but then was able to get that time down to an impressive 1:42.837, only thirty-two hundredths of a second behind Grant. Andres is behind the wheel of Tonis Kasemets’ car, who took first at the pre-season race at Palm Beach. 

Rickards, who took the win at Watkins Glen in the F1600 Series last October, is also driving former Atlantic Series champion Daniel Burkett’s car. Rickards moved from sixth in practice one, to having the fourth fastest lap in practice two. 

“The Atlantic car is obviously much faster than the Formula F, but the brakes are hugely different. We have a new engine and near gearbox this weekend, so the first session I was doing install checks on those. The key so far for me has been to learn to brake deeper and carry more speed,” said Rickards on his experience jumping between different types of cars. 

Finishing in the top three for the Atlantic Challenge class during the afternoon practice were Bruce Hamilton in first, Lewis Cooper Jr. in second, and Mark Sherwood in third. 

The weekend at Watkins Glen will continue with qualifying and race one on Saturday followed by qualifying and race two on Sunday. For full practice times for both practice sessions one and two please visit http://atlanticchampionshipseries.com/results.html

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