ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Aug. 15, 2009) -
Competing in his first season of the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup, Justin Piscitell, of Patterson, N.Y., claimed his first pole position for Sunday's Round Seven race, part of the Time Warner Cable Road Race Showcase at Road America. Todd Lamb, of Atlanta, Ga., who had qualified on the pole for the previous five MX-5 Cup races, will start second.
Piloting the No. 89 ALARA Racing/DAMG Racing/MAZDASPEED MX-5 on the long 14-turn, four-mile course, Piscitell timed the draft just right to turn a pole time of 2:39.596.
"We went out with a decent strategy, but then I went off track and fell back a little bit," Piscitell said. "Then, I realized I had four cars in front of me and said 'okay, I guess the next lap's the one,' and I put it on top. We didn't make any adjustments during the session, the car was great the whole time. It's all about putting one good lap together and we got a great draft."
Piscitell recognizes how important the draft will be for Sunday's race as well, and is hoping to hook up with some savy draft partners.
"The pole isn't so much of an advantage here," Piscitell added. "Hopefully we'll get a nice [draft] rotation going every lap and it'll come down to a matter of strategy on who gets the rotation right on the last lap."
Winner of the MAZDASPEED MX-5 Cup shootout and currently third in the Drivers' Championship, Piscitell was all smiles about his first pole position. This is the 20-year old's first season of professional sports car racing and only his second visit to Road America.
"This feels awesome," beamed Piscitell. "We've been working really hard this weekend and have the DAMG Racing/ALARA MX-5 Miata running awesome. I've got to thank my driver coach for practice and testing; Grant Maimen really helped me get my head in the right spot in the right places."
By winning the pole, Piscitell broke Lamb's recording-breaking run of five-straight MX-5 Cup pole positions. Lamb led the majority of the 30-minute qualifying session in his No. 84 AMG Racing/Traqmate/Luna-C Racing MX-5 with a 2:40.074 (91.037 mph). In the end, the time would only be quick enough for second on the grid.
MX-5 Cup point leader Marc Miller, of Holland, Mich., qualified third. The driver of the No. 28 Team MER/MOCA/RaceNowforAutism MX-5 entered a 2:40.107 (91.019 mph).
Stan Wilson, of Mt. Juliet, Tenn., turned in a career-high qualifying performance in his No. 92 Hale Motorsports/NetEvidence/Alliance 1 MX-5. Clocking a 2:40.170 (90.983 mph), Wilson ended the session in fourth.
Nick Mancuso, of Mettawa, Ill., completed the top five in his No. 29 Team MER/LakeForestSportsCars/Tire Lyna MX-5. Mancuso entered a 2:40.347 (90.882 mph) late in the session to claim the fifth spot on the grid.
Newcomers Jamie Slone and Dennis Trebing qualified sixth and seventh, respectively.
Lyonel Kent, Jeff Mosing and Zach Ply completed the top 10.
Round Seven of the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup will go green at 5:15 p.m. (CDT) Sunday. Live timing and notes are available at www.mx-5cup.com
The series is also on Twitter @ MazdaMX5Cup.