BOWMANVILLE, Ont. (June 18, 2006) – Coming into the third round of the SCCA Pro Racing SIRIUS Satellite Radio Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by Hankook, Todd Buras, of Melbourne, Fla., had been close twice, but had not yet been able to climb to the top of the podium.-30-
That changed Sunday during the MX-5 Cup portion of the Clarington 200 Mosport Father’s Day Weekend at Mosport International Raceway, where Buras, in his No. 56 BSI Racing/supportthem.com, outlasted Payton Wilson, of Chantilly, Va., through a final 2.459-mile lap of nearly constant side-by-side action to win the 28-lap, 68.852-mile race by 0.090-sec.
Round 2 winner Jim Daniels, of Germantown, Tenn., was third.
Familiar as foes but teaming up under the BSI banner this weekend, Buras and Wilson emerged from an early pack to wage a battle that included six lead changes between the pair and Daniels. Buras was seemingly able to gain control as he wrestled the lead away from Daniels on Lap 10, but as Daniels fell back, Wilson remained and put continuous pressure on Buras in his No. 59 King RAT Motorsports/BSI Racing MX-5, even taking the lead back for a lap on Lap 20.
Though Buras retook the lead, Wilson’ persistence nearly paid off on the final lap when Buras missed a shift. Wilson made a final move to the inside, nearly making the pass, only to fall short by the minute victory margin.
“About halfway through, we started racing each other, and I thought “Okay, here we go,’” said Buras, who led the final eight laps and averaged 89.457 mph en route to the victory. “Payton raced me so clean. If there was anything questionable, he would give it up, or I would give it up. He led a few laps. I led a few laps. It was a lot of fun.
“BSI Racing put together a really strong car, and now we can look forward to Mid-Ohio next week.”
Buras said that the tight racing between him and his teammate was competitor-driven, as there were no inside team inhibitions to keep him and Wilson from battling to the end.
“Stu doesn’t give any orders, there are no team orders,” Buras said in reference to BSI Racing Owner Stu Brumer. “If Payton had it, he would have had it. On the back run, I missed a gear, between third and fourth, and Payton had a big run. So, we went down the backstretch door-to-door. He drafted by me, and I was able to tuck up and get back in there.”
Making his first MX-5 Cup appearance, Wilson said his tussle with Buras was a case of different setting, same set of circumstances.
“Todd and I just really run well together,” Wilson said. “Even when we weren’t teammates, we always tend to hook up and run well. I knew if we could get in there and get out front, we could take off.
“It basically came down to whoever was behind on the back straightaway,” Wilson said. “I was in a good spot on the last lap, but I got a little loose coming out of the turn off the straightaway. I just couldn’t make it stick. Then he missed a shift on the last turn, and I thought I had a shot at him there. It can’t get any closer than that.”
While Buras and Wilson had the luxury of racing a teammate, Daniels did not. In fact, it was strictly enemy territory for the duration for the ninth-starting Daniels, who made his way through the cars ahead of him in his No. 76 specmiata.com/Team MER MX-5, which included six BSI Racing cars in the top six spots on the grid at the start of the race.
“We had a bunch of cars from one of our competitors in front of us, filling out the field, and they did not want anybody to come up through there,” Daniels said. “It was a battle of being courteous, then being aggressive, then being courteous again.
“The series regulars who are used to this were as clean as ever. It was great fun. Carlos [Garcia] and I got together at one point, and I apologize for that, but it was mutual. He got a little loose, and I caught the curb at Turn One a little bit. But, we’re both okay and he’ll be back, so I’m looking forward to racing with him.
“The Team MER crew did great on the car this weekend, and we had a good time.”
Garcia, of Miami, Fla., was running third, ahead of Daniels, on Lap 26, when Daniels attempted to pass Garcia on the inside of the first turn. Contact ensued and Garcia dropped back to seventh in his No. 60 BSI Racing/Miami Dade Health MX-5 as a result. Early on, Garcia posted the race fast lap on Lap Eight with a 1:37.658 (90.647 mph) and won the Hawk Hot Lap award.
Jason Saini, of Fort Worth, Texas, needed a strong event after two damage-riddled rounds to open the season, and he got it, finishing fourth in his No. 28 Team MER/specmiata.com/Autobarn Mazda MX-5. Erik Stearns, of Van Buren, Ohio, was fifth after a solid drive that netted him the Sunoco Hard Charger award after he started 19th.
Stearns started in the back after a broken left-front wheel bearing prevented him from turning any at-speed qualifying laps Sunday morning.
For more information about the SCCA Pro Racing SIRIUS Satellite Radio Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by Hankook, including next weekend’s fourth-round event at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, visit www.mx-5cup.com.
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