- 27 July 2015
Salem, NH – The title battle for the 2015 Atlantic Championship Series has turned into a round-for-round fight between Keith Grant and Conner Kearby. They split wins at Road Atlanta, banged wheels at Mid-Ohio, and coming into the Pittsburgh International Race Complex this weekend, the two are separated by just a handful of points with Grant narrowly leading the standings.
Six races and three weekends remain, with four races and two weekends taking place at Pittsburgh. Whoever gains the upper-hand on the new 2.8-mile 18-turn race track may be calling themselves the Series Champion come October 18.
Grant's No. 40 Swift/Mazda from Polestar has been competitive all season, with wins coming at Road Atlanta, VIR and Mid-Ohio.
Kearby is a similar story, with wins at Road Atlanta and Mid-Ohio in his No. 56 K-Hill Motorsports Swift 016/Mazda, and finishing every race. Grant has a single DNF as a result of contact - while battling for the race lead - with Kearby.
After a classic course at Mid-Ohio, the Atlantics now find-themselves at a race track purpose-built for fast cars. A former 1.2-mile short road course has been dramatically upgraded, with 2.8 miles of track and 18 turns waiting for the Atlantic field.
If more sparks were to fly this weekend, Gaston Kearby may be sitting in a prime position. Conner's K-Hill teammate and father sits third in the standings, first among the Atlantic Challenge class.
Connor Burke has seen two weekends of competition in his Swift 014/Toyota, improving from a rough VIR to a podium and fourth place at Mid-Ohio. He is another driver facing family on the track, as his father, John Burke, drives a similarly prepared car.
J. Burke is another competitor in the getting-competitive Atlantic Challenge category. As is Bob Corliss, in his silver and orange Swift 014 from Comprent Motor Sports. Flanked by teammates in Swift 016s, Richard Zober and Chris Ash, Corliss is hoping to rebound and improve upon his fourth place run at Road Atlanta.
Zober, too, is looking for a Road Atlanta-like performance from his No. 66 after a podium there in April.
Another K-Hill Motorsports entry, Dudley Fleck scored his best finishes of the year with a pair of top fives at Mid-Ohio, putting momentum on his side.
A pair of seventh places delivered Polestar's Lewis Cooper a successful weekend in Ohio, taking home third place in the Atlantic Challenge on Sunday with Cooper looking to continue the trend.
Thursday testing will be followed a pair of practice sessions for the Atlantic drivers this Friday. Saturday and Sunday will follow a similar format with morning qualifying and 40-minute afternoon races.