MONTEREY, Calif. (May 6, 2006) – Even without the help of a teammate’s draft, Chip Herr, of Lititz, Pa., still managed to turn a 1:43.546 (77.808 mph) in his No. 59 Sports Car Revolution/Mazdaspeed Mazda MX-5 and earn the first pole in SCCA Pro Racing SIRIUS Satellite Radio Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by Hankook history at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Jim Daniels, of Germantown, Tenn., will start Sunday’s race second in his No. 76 specmiata.com/Team MER MX-5.-30-
Before Saturday’s qualifying session, it appeared that BSI Racing had a solid shot at taking the pole for Sunday’s race, as Herr’s BSI teammate Todd Buras led practice and seemed to be the early favorite for the front spot on the grid.
However, as smooth as Friday’s practice run was for Buras, qualifying was anything but for the Melbourne, Fla.-driver when his No. 56 BSI Racing Krispy Kreme MX-5 went into the Turn Four tire wall while Buras scrubbed his MX-5’s Hankook Ventus tires on the opening lap. The impact was enough to end Buras’ day and wave a black flag for the entire field.
After the session resumed a few minutes later, Herr attacked the 2.258-mile, 11-turn Laguna Seca road course without the aid of a draft and turned his fast lap a few minutes later.
“In MX-5 Cup, running with teammates is the way to go,” Herr said. “Where there is drafting, getting a few more miles an hour here and there is important because its so competitive. Todd [Buras] and I had planned on going out together, just as other teams were doing. Things didn’t go as planned.
“You had to do what you could,” Herr said. “I mean, I was out there by myself after that. So, I got the stickers off my tires, the Hankooks felt great, and I ran a 44 on my second lap [after the black flag]. I knew that the next lap was my lap. I was ready to go, and I laid two fast laps, and one of those was the pole. After that, I came in so I could save the tires.”
Daniels’ 1:43.829 (77.596 mph) was nearly three-tenths of a second behind Herr’s qualifying mark, but was faster than Buras’ practice-leading 1:44.221. His effort places him on the front row alongside Herr and ahead of teammate Jason Saini, of Fort Worth, Texas, who turned a third-best 1:43.988 (77.478 mph) in his No. 28 specmiata.com/Autobarn Mazda MX-5, and Ara Malkhassian, of Houston, Texas, who was fourth in his No. 11 Alara Racing/Driver Source MX-5, with a 1:44.094.
Drew Staveley, of Walnut, Calif., will start fifth after laying down a 1:44.094 (77.399 mph) in his No. 2 ajsracing.com MX-5.
Sunday’s SCCA Pro Racing SIRIUS Satellite Radio Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by Hankook race, part of the U.S. Sports Car Invitational, is set to begin at 11:55 a.m.
For complete coverage of the MX-5 Cup race, including notes, results and recaps, visit www.mx-5cup.com.
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