- 26 August 2015
Salem, NH – Keith Grant hopes to consolidate his season in the Atlantic Championship Series at New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP) this weekend and clinch the title, with two weekends and four races left on the schedule and half of that taking place at NJMP.
Making matters more challenging for his closest title rival, Conner Kearby, Grant was fast the last time the pro Atlantic Series visited New Jersey, as he took two podiums in a Polestar entry in 2012.
Grant is coming off a dominating weekend at Pittsburgh International Race Complex to start the month in the No. 40 Swift 016/Mazda, where he cruised to two victories, was the class of the field and seems to have the momentum on his side in the final swing of the 14-race 2015 season.
Of 10 races and five weekends so far in 2015, Grant and his Polestar team have logged single victories at Road Atlanta, VIR and Mid-Ohio, with a weekend sweep coming at Pittsburgh to make it five wins in 10 starts against Kearby’s victories at Road Atlanta and Mid-Ohio.
Kearby, meanwhile, will encounter his K-Hill team’s home track at New Jersey, and hopes to find some advantage to claw back points as the season begins to draw to a close. Kearby drives the No. 56 Swift 016/Mazda entry.
Helping Kearby’s cause will be a pair of returning, fast K-Hill teammates in F1600 graduate Garth Rickards, and Keyvan Andres, who won three of races earlier this year in the No. 47 Swift 016/Mazda. Andres swept the Watkins Glen event in May with two wins in two starts, and posted a single victory at VIR in June in the No. 47 Swift 016/Mazda.
K-Hill will be out in force this weekend, with those three aspiring drivers partnered with Atlantic Challenge front-runner Gaston Kearby who finished second at Pittsburgh in the No. 69 Swift 016/Mazda.
Additional drivers under the K-Hill banner will include Bruce Hamilton, Lee Brahin and Andy Schaufelberger giving the team plenty of opportunities to share data and find the optimal setup for the 13-turn, 2.25-mile track.
Another pair of local entries are for John and Connor Burke, a Swift 014/Toyota father-son pairing. The Rumson, N.J. based drivers last competed at Mid-Ohio in early July,
Connor Burke finished third in the first race in Ohio, and had the second fastest race lap as he stormed from tenth on the grid to a podium in 28 laps and he looks possible to play a spoiler role at the front of the field for the double-header event.
Friday, August 28 opens the NJMP weekend with a practice day for Atlantic teams. Saturday morning sees qualifying followed by a race on Saturday afternoon, and Sunday sees morning qualifying followed by round 12 of the 2015 season.