PHOENIX, Ariz. (April 1, 2004) – Rounds One and Two of the Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Presented by Hankook Tires Pacific Tour Championship kick off the 2004 season in the desert at Phoenix International Raceway April 2-4, as part of the 5th Annual Spring Invitational.-30-
Round one qualifying is set for 10:40 a.m. , Saturday April 3, with the 30-lap race scheduled for 1:50 p.m. that afternoon. Qualifying for Round Two gets underway at 9:45 a.m. Sunday, April 4 and drivers hit the track for the 30-lap race at 2:00 p.m.
In its sophomore season, the Mazdaspeed Miata Cup, known for its non-stop wheel-to-wheel action, features some of the brightest up and coming stars of road racing.
Bobby Carter , of Stockton , Calif. , returns to the series to defend his Pacific Tour Championship driving the No. 2 Valley Collision/Pacific Undercar machine. Last season, Carter recorded three wins (including both Phoenix rounds), six podiums, nine top-fives and nine top-10 finishes. Carter also had three SCCA SPEED World Challenge Touring Car starts, with a season-best 11th place finish at Infineon Raceway.
Hood River , Ore. native Jon Davies will pilot the No. 67 Windsurfing Hawaii Mazda Miata. Davies, who finished second in the series a year ago, had a solid year posting two wins ( Portland , Round Five; and Pacific Raceway, Round Seven), five trips to the podium, six top-fives and 10 top-10 finishes.
Christian Miller, of Newark , Calif. , will try to improve upon his fourth place finish in the Championship point standings from a year ago. Driving the No. 50 San Dimas Auto/wheeldude.com Mazda Miata, Miller captured one win (Heartland Park Topeka, Race Two), four top-fives and five top-10 finishes.
Johnny Kanavas, of Laguna Niguel , Calif. , will commandeer the No. 3 eproduis.com car with hopes of recording his first Mazdaspeed Miata Cup win. Last season, Kanavas stood on the podium twice and had four top-10 finishes en route to finishing eighth in the Championship.
Hailing from Scottsdale , local driver Mike Halpin will drive the No. 4 SRD, Inc. Mazda Miata. Halpin, who got his only podium finish last year at Phoenix , returns this season still looking for his first Miata Cup win. Last season, Halpin finished ninth in the Championship hunt.
Despite only starting six of 10 events, former SCCA National Champion Pratt Cole, of Salt Lake City, Utah, managed to still finish 10th in the Driver’s Championship, thanks to one podium, three top-fives and four top-10s.
While Miata Cup veterans Andrew Fernandez, of San Dimas, Calif., Brad McAllister, of Tigard, Ore., and Jim Warrinner, of Glendale, Ariz., look to turn it up a notch this season, look for newcomers Brad Rampelberg, of San Jose, Calif., Jeffrey Oliver, of Cupertino, Calif., John Williams, of San Francisco, James Tilley III, of Everett, Wash., Steve Ott, of Brighton, Colo., and Rick Maki, of Santa Monica, Calif., to make an impact in the Pacific Tour this season. Ott was a former standout in the Pro Spec Racer Series, while Maki has SPEED Touring Car experience from 2003.
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
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