- 16 May 2015
Watkins Glen, NY - K-Hill Motorsports dominated the podium for round three of the Atlantic Championship Series as cloudy skies hovered over Watkins Glen International. Rain held off however for the thirty minute race and allowed Keyvan Andres to take the win after a decisive pass on Conner Kearby, who finished second ahead of F1600 graduate Garth Rickards.
Race one, round three of the 2015 season, got off to a slow start after an incident involving Bruce Crockett and Connor Burke had the entire field on caution for the first three laps. The green flag dropped at the start of lap four with Kearby in the lead followed by Andres and Rickards.
Andres passed Kearby roughly two laps into the restart with Rickards still sitting in third. The triple threat from K-Hill maintained that formation throughout the race.
The teenager hailing from Germany was able to sit in second place for the first few laps of the race until overtaking Kearby at the end of the fifth lap. After qualifying behind Kearby earlier in the day, Andres was able to close the gap between him and the previous Atlantic race winner from Corpus Christi, TX.
“The start was tough because I was surrounded by Garth and Conner, who was right on my inside, I was going to make a pass there, but then the full course caution came out. The restart helped me a little bit; I was right behind him and then got him. It was a great race,” said Andres
After Kearby’s lead loss early into the restart, he stayed in second straight up to the podium.
“I overestimated the rain a little bit, we could see it running across our visors but I guess it really wasn’t that bad and by then Keyvan was already there and drafted me up through the S turns and got by clean,” said Kearby. “I made a few mistakes when I was trying to follow him back and draft him but tomorrow is another day,” he continued.
Rickards held third place for the entire race allowing him to make it to the podium for his first Atlantic race of the season.
“Well you know there is nothing like driving this car here, it’s my favorite track and this car is sick, the adrenaline is pumping just as much as last year even though there wasn’t as much wheel to wheel. Looking forward to tomorrow and hopefully improving a little bit,” said Rickards.
Polestar Racing Group’s Keith Grant had nearly a two second gap between him Rickards and despite his efforts to close in on Rickards late in the race he settled with fourth for the day, un-able to repeat the performance that saw him win at Road Atlanta.
Atlantic Challenge winner Gaston Kearby was able to make a push throughout the race moving up from his starting position of tenth and gaining five positions on the field giving him a fifth place finish overall. Behind G. Kearby in the Atlantic Challenge class was Dudley Fleck followed by Bruce Hamilton. John Burke just missed the Atlantic Challenge podium coming in fourth within the class and eighth overall.
Rounding out the top ten were Comprent drivers Rich Zober in ninth and Chris Ash in tenth. Both drivers advanced from qualifying with Zober moving up from twelfth to ninth and Ash from eleventh to tenth.
Round four continues tomorrow with qualifying at 10:00 a.m. followed by race two of the Atlantic Championship Series weekend at Watkins Glen at 3:00 p.m.