ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Aug. 9, 2008) –Todd Buras, of Melbourne, Fla., earned his first-career SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup pole for Round Four at Road America. Ryan Schimsk, of Austin, Texas, will start second in Sunday’s race, part of the Road Race Showcase.
Driving the No. 56 Hooverspeed/Pancreaticcure.org MX-5, Buras was sitting mid-pack on the qualifying times before he hooked up with Schimsk to turn his fastest lap in the closing moments of the 20-minute session.
“It was very exciting,” Buras said. “This place is a big drafting track for us and I was nowhere until, with five minutes to go, I fell back and found a drafting partner in Schimsk. He and I did it on the very last lap with the checkered flag.
“First and foremost I’ve got to say thanks for Hooverspeed, Pancreaticcure.org and Patron Tequila. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for them.”
Buras’ pole time of 2:38.602 (91.882 mph) is a new qualifying lap record for MX-5 Cup at Road America. The time was only 0.035-second faster than second-place Schimsk, but beating Schimsk to Turn One won’t be a priority for Buras when the green flag waves.
“Turn One, Turn Three and Turn Five are really important here, but I’m not too concerned about staying in front, because if you’re in front, whoever’s behind you is going to draft right by. You’ve got to make sure you get the brakes pumped for the next corner. We get such kick-back in these cars and we want to make sure we don’t all ball’em up in Turn Five like last time .
“On the last lap I’d like to be five to seven car-lengths behind second place. As I said, the draft works really well here. My teammate Brad Rampelberg and I have worked on some stuff coming up to start/finish and I think we’ve got something under out hats.”
Entering a qualifying lap of 2:38.637 (91.862 mph) in the No. 81 Team MER/Airco Mechanical MX-5, Schimsk will start second for Sunday’s 45-minute race. Schimsk was fastest in the weekend’s practice sessions and led a good portion of qualifying before getting nipped by Buras on the pair’s final hot lap around the 4.048-mile, 14-turn road course.
Ara Malkhassian, of Sonoma, Calif., will start the race from third. Driving the No. 11 Alara Racing MX-5, Malkhassian turned a 2:39.032 (91.634 mph).
In the No. 70 GRE/Velocity-Club.com/SCDA1.com MX-5, Elivan Goulart, of Shelton Conn., briefly led the qualifying session, but will start the race from the fourth spot with qualifying time of 2:39.177 (91.551 mph).
Current point leader Eric Foss, of Fort Worth, Texas, qualified fifth. Visiting Road America for the first time, Foss turned a 2:39.261 (91.502 mph) in the No. 28 Team MER/Autobarn Mazda MX-5.
Christian Franck, Brad Rampelberg, Robert Huffmaster, Deborah Loth and Randy Hale complete the top 10 on the grid.
Late in the session, the No. 57 UMW Motorwerks/Welk’s Auto MX-5 of Steve Welk and the No. 25 Team MER/Jenkins Bros./Traxxas MX-5 of Mark Jenkins made contact, sending Jenkins into the wall on the pit straight and ending the qualifying session slightly early. Welk’s qualifying times were disallowed per the chief steward for his role in the incident.
Sunday’s Round Four race is scheduled for 10:05 a.m. (CDT). Live timing and lap notes are available at www.mx-5cup.com. The race will air on DIRECTV, Dish Network and regional cable networks the week of September 8th.