LEXINGTON, Ohio (June 27, 2004) – Brothers Niki Coello, of East Troy, Wis., and Tony Coello, of Waukesha, Wis., finished One-Two in the season finale of the SCCA Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Presented by Hankook Atlantic Tour, as part to the American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio event weekend. Bob Stretch, of Dallas, finished third.-30-
Niki Colleo, driving the No. 81 pouredfoundations.com Mazda Miata, looked like he was out for a Sunday drive as he won today’s race in decisive fashion. Early in the race, Niki passed his brother Tony, who was on the pole for today’s event, heading into turn 11 for the lead and never looked back. As Niki made the pass, Tony went wide and hit the wall, shuffling him back to seventh place. Nearly half way through the race Niki opened up a more than a ten second lead over then second place Stretch. Niki’s dominant run culminated with a win by 19.944-seconds at an average speed of 76.980 mph.
“At the start, I thought it was going to be a very close race,” Niki Coello said. “At this track, it is really hard to pass and very easy to make mistakes on. I knew my biggest competition would be my brother since he knew my weaknesses, being in the same pit with me, so I wanted to make sure I got ahead of him while the tires were still fresh. And, that is what I did. Unfortunately, he made a mistake and I wound up with a 20-second win.”
Niki Collelo’s win was his eighth in Mazdaspeed Miata Cup competition.
Tony Coello, who piloted the No. 17 pouredfoundations.com machine, had to battle back from an early race mistake and slower traffic to bring home a second place finish, his second of 2004.
“Niki had passed me going into turn one around lap four or five,” Tony Coello said. “He knew that I had newer tires and I was going to be a little better later in the race. So, he wanted to see if he could get out front. And, we went up into last one of the corners before Thunder Valley, where you go up over the hill, he got a little wide and I went even wider and hit the wall. I smacked it hard. But, I kept the car straight and kept my foot in it. After that, the steering wheel was at a 90 degree angle and it was shaking. I had wheel spin off every corner. I fell back and had work my way back through. But, I am tickled to death to pull out a second place finish with car in as bad as shape as it was.”
Driving the No. 02 Wheels America Miata, Stretch inherited a third place finish following a post race adjustment by the Miata Cup chief steward. Greg Stasiowski, of Washington, Pa., was the provisional third place finisher, but was moved to eighth place due to on track contact with Chris Puskar, of Chesterland, Ohio, on the last lap of the race. Stretch’s third place finish was his first career Miata Cup podium finish.
Tom Long, of Raleigh, N.C., and Shawn Dewey, of Townsend, Del., finished fourth and fifth respectively.
Payton Wilson, of Gainesville, Va., leads the Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Atlantic Tour Championship point lead with 153 points, followed by Dewey (139), Niki Coello (138), Long (132) and Ryan Pilla, of Amagansett, N.Y., (102).
For more event information, please go to: http://www.scca.com/Event/Event.asp?Ref=04miata-moh
Link to this story: http://www.scca.com/News/News.asp?Ref=77