MONTEREY, Calif. (Oct. 18, 2008) – Eric Foss, of Fort Worth, Texas, came one step closer to earning the 2008 SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup Championship, by putting his car on the pole for Sunday’s season finale race, part of the Monterey Sports Car Championships Presented by Patron. Todd Buras, of Melbourne, Fla., will complete the front row at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Driving the No. 28 Team MER/Autobarn Mazda MX-5, Foss entered a pole time of 1:41.184 (79.625 mph) around the 11-turn, 2.238-mile road course. The time was a significant improvement on Foss’ practice times as well as a new qualifying lap record.
“We worked on the set up all weekend,” Foss said. “In practice, we were running on fresh tires and found out that didn’t work. We had a good setup on the car, so when it came time for qualifying, we put some older tires on the car and it was hooked up. Team MER, once again, has been doing an awesome job all weekend and my Mazda’s been phenomenal.”
With a 59-point lead over Buras, following qualifying bonus points, Foss just needs to be classified as a finisher in Sunday’s race (complete at least half the distance), to win the 2008 Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup Championship. This doesn’t mean Foss will be playing it conservative when the green flag waves, however.
“It’s one of those things where I could go easy and just get the finish, but it’s been a great season and we’d like to end it on a high note. My family is here for me and I’d like to stay up front and not just drive around. I want to race!”
Fittingly, the only man with a mathematical shot at beating Foss for the title, Buras, will start on the outside of the front row in Sunday’s 45-minunte race. Buras put the No. 56 Hooverspeed/Pancreaticcurre.org MX-5 second on the grid with a lap of 1:41.184 (79.625 mph). In order to claim the MX-5 Cup Championship for himself, Buras must win the race, while Foss fails to finish at least half the distance.
Ryan Schimsk, of Austin, Texas, will start third in the No. 81 Team MER/Airco Mechanical MX-5. Schimsk turned a 1:41.365 (79.422 mph) during the 20-minute qualifying session.
Winner of the previous round at New Jersey Motorsports Park, Robert Huffmaster, from Clarkston, Mich., qualified his No. 27 Team MER/Huffmaster Co. MX-5 fourth. Huffmaster entered a qualifying time of 1:41.442 (79.422 mph).
The only Californian in the top five, Simi Valley’s Christian Franck, will start fifth. Franck entered a 1:41.486 (79.388 mph) in the No. 16 Alara Racing/Select Painting MX-5.
Two more California drivers follow Franck on the grid. San Jose resident Brad Rampelberg and Sonoma’s Ara Malkhassian will start sixth and seventh, respectively.
Mark Jenkins and SCCA SPEED GT racer Eric Curran complete the top 10.
Sunday’s 40-minute SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup finale is scheduled for 11: 25 a.m. (PDT). Live timing and lap notes are available at www.mx-5cup.com.
- Starting lineup for Sunday's SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup Round Eight race, part of the 2008 Monterey Sports Car Championship Presented by Patron at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, with position, car number in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, fastest lap time, and speed in miles per hour.
1, (28), Eric Foss, Fort Worth, Texas, MX-5, 1:41.184, 79.625.
2, (56), Todd Buras, Melbourne, Fla., MX-5, 1:41.335, 79.506.
3, (81), Ryan Schimsk, Austin, Texas, MX-5, 1:41.365, 79.483.
4, (27), Robert Huffmaster, Clarkston, Mich., MX-5, 1:41.442, 79.422.
5, (16), Christian Franck, Simi Valley, Calif., MX-5, 1:41.486, 79.388.
6, (14), Brad Rampelberg, San Jose, Calif., MX-5, 1:41.529, 79.354.
7, (11), Ara Malkhassian, Sonoma, Calif., MX-5, 1:41.707, 79.215.
8, (25), Mark Jenkins, Fairview, Texas, MX-5, 1:41.744, 79.187.
9, (30), Eric Curran, E. Hampton, Mass., MX-5, 1:41.836, 79.115.
10, (3), Bobby Carter, Brentwood, Calif., MX-5, 1:41.955, 79.023.
11, (19), Robert Michaelian, Seal Beach, Calif., MX-5, 1:42.048, 78.951.
12, (23), Deborah Loth, Fort Worth, Texas, MX-5, 1:42.357, 78.712.
13, (39), Brad McAllister, Portland, Ore., MX-5, 1:42.599, 78.527.
14, (43), Barry Fromberg, Plano, Texas, MX-5, 1:42.857, 78.330.
15, (00), Harrison Williams, Houston, Texas, MX-5, 1:43.221, 78.053.
16, (12), Alison Malkhassian, Sonoma, Calif., MX-5, 1:43.329, 77.972.
17, (44), Steve Bottom, Newport Beach, Calif., MX-5, 1:43.329, 77.972.
18, (24), Forest Barber, Fort Worth, Texas, MX-5, 1:43.418, 77.905.
19, (29), Donald Barnes, Chapel Hill, N.C., MX-5, 1:43.540, 77.813.
20, (59), Christopher Rhoades, Dallas, Texas, MX-5, 1:43.758, 77.650.
21, (58), James Rhoades, Dallas, Texas, MX-5, 1:43.877, 77.561.
22, (54), Brad Adams, New Orleans, La., MX-5, 1:44.007, 77.464.
23, (22), Laura Olson, Costa Mesa, Calif., MX-5, 1:44.182, 77.333.
24, (26), Tim Probert, Houston, Texas, MX-5, 1:44.323, 77.229.
25, (18), Kim Ouye, Montery, Calif., MX-5, 1:44.345, 77.213.
26, (21), Randy Hale_III, Haddam, Conn., MX-5, 1:44.443, 77.140.
27, (31), Sonny Whelen, Old Saybrook, Conn., MX-5, 1:45.127, 76.638.
28, (8), Carlos Tesler-Mabe, Vancouver, British Columbia, MX-5, 1:45.449, 76.404.
29, (06), Kenny Kun Yin, Los Angeles, Calif., MX-5, 1:46.245, 75.832.