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Youngest Atlantic Champion Crowned – Season Ends on a Sour Note for Silvestro

By D. Brian Smith

Photography: Ben Moment

John Edwards, an 18-year-old Formula Atlantic Series racecar driver, drove to his fourth victory of the season on Sunday, October 11 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. In the process, he claimed the series championship and became the youngest champion ever crowned in the Formula Atlantic Series illustrious 36-year history.

Starting from the pole position, Edwards drove a flawless race by leading throughout the 50-minute contest in the No. 36 MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development/Nuclear Clean Air Energy/NEI/Entergy machine from Newman Wachs Racing. By winning this season ending event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Edwards leapt past the number two and number one points series leading contenders, Jonathan Sumerton and Simona De Silvestro, respectively.

Going into this race, 21-year old Simona De Silvestro was leading the series with 176 points in her Team Stargate Worlds racecar, to Jonathan Sumerton’s 169 points and John Edwards 166 points. When Markus Niemela and Simona De Silvestro became entangled on the first lap of the race up at Laguna Seca’s tricky Corkscrew turn, Silvestro’s hopes of becoming the first female to win a road course championship were dashed. Silvestro’s misfortune became Edwards good-fortune, as he was able to break the tie he had with Sumerton by earning this victory. Both Edwards and Sumerton had four wins during the season, yet Edwards had a total of four, second place finishes to Sumerton’s three, which gave Edwards the tiebreaker and the championship.

Throughout the season, all three racers were wheel-to-wheel-to-wheel and are all to be commended for their superlative expertise in their racecars. Redline Review believes the future is bright for Silvestro, Edwards, and Sumerton. We can’t wait to see what and where they’ll be racing next year. Rest assured that we’ll bring you all the action at www.RedlineReview.com.

At the top of Laguna Seca’s infamous corkscrew, Formula Atlantic series points leader Simona De Silvestro seemingly overtook Markus Niemela on the first lap of the championship race.

Apparently, Niemela decided that he didn’t want to give way to Silvestro, as he went for an off-course excursion to stay wheel-to-wheel with her..

Niemela forced his way back onto the course and drove Silvestro into the tire wall, which ended her chances at winning the Cooper Tires Series Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda. Had Simona De Silvestro placed higher in this season ending championship race, she would have entered the history books as the first female racecar driver to win a road course championship series. Alas for the Swiss born, Phoenix, Arizona resident, Ms. Silvestro will need to wait for next year to win a bunch more races. Knowing how well she has campaigned these past two seasons, we look for more great things to come from Ms. Simona De Silvestro.

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