BRASELTON, Ga. (April 21, 2004) – As part of the inaugural Drift Atlanta® event weekend, Rounds One and Two of the Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Presented by Hankook Atlantic Tour Championship take to the track April 23-25 at Road Atlanta.
Qualifying for the Round One race is set for 11:10 a.m., Saturday April 24, with the race scheduled for 2:10 p.m. that afternoon. Round Two qualifying gets underway at 8:00 a.m. Sunday, April 25 with the race scheduled for 12:00 p.m.
Entering its second full season, the Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Atlantic Tour features some of North America’s best road racing prospects. While many of these drivers continue to develop and hone their talent, they also continue to demonstrate their ability to “put on a show” for race fans.
Looking to defend his Atlantic Tour Championship, Chip Herr, of Lititz, Pa., returns to the series driving the No. 24 OG Racing/Warwick Autopark Mazda Miata. One of the sport’s most talented young drivers, Herr recorded five wins (BeaveRun, Lime Rock, VIRginia International Raceway, Road America and Grattan Raceway), nine podiums, nine top-fives and 10 top-10 finishes last year. This weekend, Herr will also drive the No. 9 Car Doctor Motorsports/Warwick Auto Park Mazda Protegé in both SPEED World Challenge Touring Car races.
Niki Coello, of East Troy, Wis., returns for his sophomore season and will pilot the No. 81 pouredfoundations.com machine. Last season, Coello finished second in the Atlantic Tour Drivers’ Championship and captured fives wins including the seasonal finale Atlantic Tour versus Pacific Tour “winner take all” National Championship race at Heartland Park Topeka. In addition to his five race wins, Coello made nine trips to the podium and had 10 top-five finishes.
Gainesville, Va.-native, Payton Wilson looks to get his first career Atlantic Tour win when he gets behind the wheel of the No. 38 Victory By Design/Maaco Manassas Mazda Miata. Wilson recorded three podiums, four top-fives and 10 top-10s en route to a third place finish in the Drivers’ Championship in 2003.
Driving the No. 8 Ingdirect.com/DAB Services Mazda Miata, Shawn Dewey, of Townsend, Del., hopes to improve on his fourth place finish in the Championship point standings from a year ago. Dewey, who is still looking his first Atlantic Tour win, consistently ran in the top-10 all season-long, grabbing two podiums, seven top-fives and 10 top-10 finishes.
Greg Stasiowski, of Washington, Pa., returns for another season in the No. 32 Custom Tool & Grinding/Malloy Mazda Miata. Last season, Stasiowski put together a solid run with one podium, two top-fives and five top-10 finishes en route to a seventh place finish in the Championship.
Ryan Pilla, of Amagansett, N.Y., will commandeer the No. 10 Car Doctor World machine with hopes of recording his first Atlantic Tour win. Pilla finished eighth in the Championship point standings a year ago, thanks to two top-five and four top-10 finishes. Pilla, who is Herr’s teammate, will also make his second and third SPEED World Challenge Touring Car starts this weekend driving the No. 10 Car Doctor Motorsports/Warwick Auto Park Mazda Protegé.
Other notable Miata Cup Atlantic Tour veterans competing this weekend include Hartford, Wis. natives Mark Greenisen and Tim McQuiston; Dan McKeever, of Moore, S.C.; and Steve Nowicki, of West Bloomfield, Mich.
Developed by SCCA Pro Racing in conjunction with Hankook Tires USA and Mazdaspeed, the Miata Cup offers aspiring pro drivers the opportunity to compete at the professional level. Miata Cup cars are inexpensive to build and race so the spec nature of the series allows a driver to succeed on a reduced budget.
Utilizing rules similar to the Spec Miata class developed for the weekend sportsman racer by the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), club racing drivers now have a professional series within their grasp. The series features the popular first-generation body style Mazda Miata cars with safety upgrades and limited suspension modifications. The spec formula has allowed Miata Cup to become one of the fastest growing classes in all of sports car racing.
Link to this story: http://www.scca.com/News/News.asp?Ref=8