Less than 24 hours after Atlantic Championship graduate Danica Patrick earned her first career Indy Racing League IndyCar Series victory in Japan, second-year Swiss driver Simona De Silvestro became the second woman in the 34-year history of the Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda to win a race with her victory in the Imperial Capital Bank Atlantic Challenge of Long Beach.
De Silvestro joins Katherine Legge as the only women to win races in Atlantic Championship competition. Legge owns a total of three Atlantic victories, the last of which came at San Jose on July 31, 2005. Legge also picked up her first career Atlantic win at Long Beach in 2005. In addition to it being De Silvestro's first victory, it was also the first Atlantic win for Newman Wachs Racing, which came into the series in 2006.
"It was very tough weekend, especially on Friday, but we got everything together," De Silvestro said. "I worked on myself also from Friday to Saturday, and it helped a lot. For the race, I was pretty confident, because the car felt really good. I just had to keep it on the track. Bomarito made a mistake, so I got that chance and I could pass him. On the restart, I was a little bit nervous, because I'd never done a restart (as the leader). I thought maybe Alan would come close, but I think I did a good job and just kept going. It's awesome. It's an awesome weekend because Danica won and I won. It's perfect. Congratulations to Danica as well. I also need to thank the Nuclear Energy Institute for supporting me. I am proud to be a brand ambassador for the Nuclear Clean Air Energy intiaitive."
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