J.R. Hildebrand Remains Top Prospect in The Deep Throttle American Driver Prospects Ranking For Open Wheel Road Racing|
August 26, 2009
Rochester, N.Y., August 26 — J.R. Hildebrand continues to dominate the Firestone Indy Lights standings and the Deep Throttle monthly ranking for American driver prospects in open wheel road racing. Hildebrand's lead in the championship is nearly insurmountable, and barring a complete collapse, will be the 2009 Indy Lights champion.
Two other Americans have already claimed championships while many others are still in the hunt. Gabby Chaves, moving up a spot to fifth ranking, has clinched the Formula BMW Americas series with one weekend remaining. Chris Miller, ranked eighth, held onto his lead in the F2000 Championship Series final weekend to claim the title.
"So far, this is turning out to be a banner year for American drivers," Deep Throttle Publisher Russell Jaslow said. "From the top rungs to the lower rungs, from North American to Europe, American drivers are performing admirably."
The Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda is putting on an all out battle for the title. John Edwards, still ranked second, and Jonathan Summerton, moved up to a third place ranking, are second (21 points behind) and third (29 points behind first) in the standings, respectively. They are trying to catch the leader with three races to go.
"The Atlantic Championship is perhaps the most dramatic fight this year with three accomplished drivers going all out every race weekend," Jaslow said.
Josef Newgarden, dropping a ranking spot to fourth, won another race in Europe, but two crashes dropped him further behind first, and he no longer has the advantage when you factor in dropping two races. He is still second in the MSA Formula Ford Series of Great Britain, but now has to fight to keep the drivers behind him at bay.
There was very little movement in this month's rankings.
"This can be bad or good," Jaslow said. "If everyone is doing terrible, no one can fall down the rankings. Or, if everyone is doing so well, no one can climb above someone else. Fortunately, it is the latter. All the drivers in the ranking had a stellar month, thus the rankings essentially remained status quo."
Joel Miller (Star Mazda) moved up a spot passing Conor Daly in the standings and improving his ranking to sixth, which caused Daly to drop a spot in the ranking to seventh. Behind them, the next six drivers remained in their same spot as a month ago: Chris Miller (F2000) who took two poles and a win, Connor De Phillippi (Skip Barber National) who won twice, Robert Podlesni (Pacific F2000) who was idle, Matthew Inge (F2000) who took second in the series, Max Hyatt (Pacific F2000) and Alexander Rossi (Formula Master) who were also idle remained eighth through 13th, respectively.
The last two positions flip-flopped. Benjamin Searcy (F2000) finally put his bad luck behind him as he got back to the top step on the podium, moving up to a 14th ranking. Meanwhile, Court Vernon (Skip Barber National) dropped to 15th despite two second place finishes.
"The rankings may be a bit boring, but the action on the track is anything but," Jaslow said. "There is a lot for American racing fans to cheer for and hopefully more to come. We'll be at Mosport this weekend bringing you all the coverage of the American drivers competing there."
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