MILLVILLE, N.J. (June 14, 2009) – A day after winning Round Three of the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup at New Jersey Motorsports Park, Todd Lamb, of Atlanta, Ga., took the Round Four win as well, sweeping the series doubleheader event, part of Mazda Formula X Presented by Cooper Tires. The entire podium was a repeat of Saturday’s race, with Marc Miller, of Holland, Mich., and Justin Piscitell, of Patterson, N.Y., in second and third, respectively.
Despite the best efforts of second-starting Piscitell, Lamb was able to hold the top spot through Turn One in the No. 84 AMG/Traqmate/Luna-C Racing MX-5. Mimicking Saturday’s Round Three race, Lamb swiftly broke away from the rest of the pack with Miller in tow.
As the pair circulated the 14-turn, 2.25-mile course, the strengths of each car became apparent, with Miller closing the gap in the first half of the course and Lamb opening his lead back up from Turn Nine back to Turn One. Only once, when Lamb dropped a wheel at the Chicane on the penultimate lap, did a true passing opportunity present itself for Miller and his No. 28 Team MER/MOCA/RaceForAutism/Sparco MX-5.
“I came in a little too hot and got sideways on the exit,” Lamb said. “I knew I’d botched it. I tried to defend from Marc, but he got alongside me. I had to give him some room and we went through the next corner side-by-side. Fortunately, I came out on top.”
Lamb made the last lap flawless, capturing his third-straight MX-5 Cup win by 0.438-second, averaging 84.239 mph.
“You’ve got to expect to have someone in your mirrors for the entire race, whether you’re racing for first or racing for 20th,” Lamb said. “There’s some great competition out there. It was fun running with Marc, because I know he’ll race me clean. I’m just thrilled to be on the top step of the podium again in the Traqmate/Luna-C Racing/AMG car.”
Though he’s won the last three races from pole, Lamb missed Round One at Road Atlanta, and as a result is listed fourth in the Drivers’ Championship. Lamb will get to drop his lowest scoring race from his final total, however, which would put him ahead of Miller in the point standings.
“I do plan on running the remaining rounds of the Championship in the Traqmate/Luna-C Mazda,” Lamb added. “There is one conflict with a KONI Challenge race, but we’re trying to work that out. We might have to charter a few flights, but we’ll make it happen.”
He may have set the fastest lap of the race, a 1:35.070 (85.200 mph), breaking the race lap record Lamb set on Saturday in the process, but for the third race in-a-row, Miller crossed the finish line a hair behind Lamb.
“I feel pretty good about it,” Miller said. “We’re consistent. It’s not like we’re giving up by any means – Todd isn’t runny away with any of these. We just have to work harder, see what [AMG] is doing right and keep going back at it. Hopefully we can roll off the trailer at Barber and we’ll be the ones getting chased.
“I knew we were stronger from One to Nine, but he got a rocket run out of Nine every time,” Miller recalled. “Yesterday he made a bobble there, but today he made a bobble in the Chicane and that’s where I was able to pull alongside him. I think we had the opportunity to win today, but I think I was too nice to him. I gave him too much room. We’re second again and we’ll have to go to Barber with a whole new strategy.”
After a rough start in the No. 89 ALARA Racing/DAMG Racing/MAZDASPEED MX-5, Piscitell had to find his way around Nick Mancuso’s No. 29 Team MER/LakeForestSportsCars/Tire Lyna MX-5 to make his way back on the podium.
“[On the start] I ended up on the outside of Turn One, hit some marbles and it put me on the outside of Turn Two as well and I got knocked right back to fourth. I had to follow Nick Mancuso around for awhile and we had a good race.”
After trading positions several times, Piscitell took the spot for good on lap eight.
“I got him going into Turn One, recalled Piscitell. “The DAMG MX-5 was running good all the way around the track. I was able to get a good run out of Turn 10, make a pass in Turn One and hold it the rest of the race.”
Mancuso, of Mettawa, Ill., followed Piscitell across the line to finish a career-high fourth.
The crowed witnessed a photo finish for fifth-place. Brett Smrz, of Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, spun his No. 6 AMG/SurroundSounds.com MX-5 on the opening lap and spent the remainder of the 25-lap, 56.25-mile race charging back through the field. On the final lap, Smrz caught fifth-place Mark Jenkins, of Fairview, Texas, in the No. 25 Team MER/JBR/Traxxas/BFG/Simpson MX-5. Smrz pulled alongside Jenkins as the pair hit the front straight, but missed out on fifth by a fraction of a second.
Sixth-place Smrz was followed across the line by Zach Ply.
Jeff Mosing and Ara Malkhassian completed the top 10.
Driving the No. 92 Hale Motorsports/NetEvidence/Alliance 1 MX-5, Stan Wilson, of Mt. Juliet, Tenn., earned his second Carbotech Hard Charger Award of the weekend, advancing four positions in the Round Four race.
Today’s race was broadcast live on HDNet. The race will re-air on various cable and satellite networks. A full TV schedule is available on www.mx-5cup.com. The next round of the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup will take place July 17 – 19 at Barber Motorsports Park, in Birmingham, Ala.