LAKEVILLE, Conn. (June 2, 2005) – Tom Long, of Raleigh, N.C., captured his second and third-career SCCA Pro Racing Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Presented by Hankook Atlantic Tour wins Memorial Day weekend, sweeping Rounds Three and Four at Lime Rock Park.
Driving the No. 16 RaceSports/Race Engineering Mazda Miata 1.6, Long captured both the Saturday and Monday races on the schedule, leading the most laps in each, but by no means running away from the field.
In Saturday’s race one, Long led from the pole, but it was defending series Champion Payton Wilson, of Gainesville, Va., who took control of the middle of the race, leading laps 8-19. Long regained the point on lap 20, but relinquished the lead to point leader Todd Buras (kkrr.com/bsiracing.com Miata) on lap 26, only to retake the point on lap 28 for the final two tours and his second win at Lime Rock in three tries, dating back to 2004.
Buras finished second, just 0.593-second behind, to maintain his points lead, followed by Wilson and Jim Daniels, who narrowly edged Jason Saini for fourth.
Monday’s race saw the return of 2004’s other race winner and current SCCA SPEED World Challenge Touring Car driver Ryan Pilla. Pilla set a new qualifying mark in his Car Doctor World Miata with a lap of 1:02.957 (87.488 mph) to take the pole and lead from the start.
Long moved from his third starting position around second-starting Buras at the start and took the point on lap three for 16 laps. Daniels, who started fifth in his BSI Racing entry, followed Long to the front and passed for the lead on lap 19. The two swapped the lead two more times over the next 14 laps. On lap 35, rain began to fall and Daniels slid wide in the uphill, allowing Long took the point for good in the 38-lap event. Daniels dropped back to fourth, allowing Pilla and Wilson to climb back onto the podium. Chris Puskar finished fifth.
The most disappointed driver on Monday was Buras, who dropped from fourth to 18th after contact with Saini. The point leader set a new lap record (1:02.954) in his run back through the field to eighth—a spot good enough to maintain his point lead.
Buras takes a seven point lead over Wilson (115 to 108) into the next rounds at Mosport International Raceway, June 17-19. Long jumped to third in points, with 103, followed by Daniels (91) and Puskar (79).
For more information, please visit www.scca.com/Pro/Miata.asp.
Link to story: http://www.scca.com/News/News.asp?Ref=320