Long Beach: Pacific Coast Motorsports race report
Racing series ATLANTIC
Consistent Performance Pays Off for Muniz, Skerlong Bumped to the Back
It looked to be a promising day for Carl Skerlong. The 19-year old from Seattle sat on row two as the green flag fell for the Imperial Capital Bank Challenge at the Long Beach Grand Prix. His hopes for a podium finish in the season opener were destroyed as fellow American and pole-sitter Jonathan Bomarito pushed Carl into the tire barrier in turn one. The incident forced Carl to return to the pitlane for a new nose. He anticipated a strong race, where he could show the potential of this US RaceTronics prepared PCM race car, but instead, he had to demonstrate from one lap down. He did get the chance to make his point setting the fastest lap of the race, for which he was rewarded with a bonus point.
Frankie Muniz made a big improvement over his Long Beach debut last year by starting ten positions ahead in the field and finishing four over his 2007 result. Frankie turned in the 15th fastest qualifying lap of the 23 drivers yesterday, less than a second over Simona de Silvestro, the pole and eventual race winner. Muniz drove an incident free race, held on to his position, and left the Beach pleased with his improvement.
CARL SKERLONG, #14 King Taco/Mazda/Swift/Cooper Tires
Carl on qualifying: "Without question, we had the car to win. Unfortunately Bomarito made an unsafe and unnecessary move which cost me my race. I had to come in for a new nose and we lost a lap. After that we chased the field, and the fact that I set the fastest time of the race, proves we had a great car. We're leaving with one point, which certainly is not what I had in mind, but I am going to turn my focus to Laguna, where I am sure we will have a better weekend. Thanks to King Taco for all of their support, I really wanted to win for them at their home race, it wasn't meant to be this weekend, but we'll do it for them in California next month."
Frankie Muniz #41 PCM/Mazda/Swift/Cooper Tires
Frankie on qualifying: "I am very happy with how the race went. We had a good start and we didn't lose any positions. We stayed consistent with the pack and the pace. I wish we were faster but I drove a safe race, I didn't make many mistakes and I didn't let anyone pass me, so I am pleased. I can't wait for Laguna Seca."
Tyler Tadevic, Team Owner: "In regard to Carl, he had a tough day through no fault of his own. We think Bomarito's move was unreasonable, it cost us the podium as well as potentially a victory. No sour grapes about it, the King Taco car is going to be rewarded at Laguna Seca. Very proud, of the team, unfortunately they couldn't get the results that they were capable of achieving.
Frankie struggled initially, but by the end of the second qualifying session, he was less than a second off of the pole, and we think that is pretty good for a driver who is only in his third year of racing. It is a big improvement over last year when he was three seconds off of the pole. I am really proud of him. Thanks to Mazda and Cooper Tires for making sure the Atlantic series exists. Shane (Seneviratne, team manager), Lee (Bentham, driver coach), Tim (Lewis, engineer #41) and Burke (Harrison, engineer #14) and all the boys did a great job all weekend.
Noteworthy: Carl Skerlong scored a bonus championship point for setting the fastest lap of the race.