AVONDALE, Ariz. (April 3, 2004) – Brad Rampelberg, of San Jose, Calif., drove flag-to-flag to capture his first career SCCA Pro Racing Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Presented by Hankook Tires Pacific Tour win in Round One at Phoenix International Raceway today. Teammates Andrew Fernandez, of San Dimas , Calif. , and Christian Miller, of Newark , Calif. , finished second and third, respectively. -30-
Starting from the pole position on a cool and cloudy day in the desert, Rampelberg piloted his No. 46 Lemans Karting Mazda Miata to an early lead and never looked back. In fact, Rampelberg led by more than nine-seconds at one point late in the race. Rampelberg’s margin of victory was 6.832-seconds at an average speed of 71.235 mph for the 30-lap, 45.3-mile race.
“I was pretty consistent,” Rampelberg said. “I new Christian [Miller] was right there behind me and I knew that Andrew [Fernandez] would be coming through the field, they were pretty fast. What I really wanted to do was to get through those corners and just keep it racing. I was having my dad give me lap times back to what Christian was doing. And, once I got a decent pace, I would drive back to his lap time, just so I made sure that I wasn’t overheating the Hankook tires. My Mazda Miata ran great.”
Fernandez spent most of the race behind teammate Miller until the last lap when he powered his No. 49 San Dimas Auto Mazda Miata past Miller in turn nine and held him off for his second career Mazdaspeed Miata Cup podium finish. Fernandez won the Sunoco Hard Charger of the Race award for advancing seven positions throughout the race and he also set the fast race lap of 1:14.128 (73.333 mph).
Miller, who qualified his No. 50 San Dimas Auto/wheeldude.com Mazda Miata second on the grid, spent 25 laps trying to catch race leader Rampelberg, but never got close enough to make a pass. Miller’s third place finish gave him his second career Miata Cup podium finish.
Mike Halpin, of Scottsdale , Ariz. , finished fourth driving the No. 4 SRD, Inc. Mazda Miata and Jon Davies, of Hood River , Ore. , drove his No. 67 Windsurfing Hawaii Mazda Miata to fifth.
Rampelberg takes the lead in the Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Presented by Hankook Tires Pacific Tour Drivers’ Championship with 34 points, followed by Fernandez (27 points), Miller (26), Halpin (24) and Davies (22).
The SCCA Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Presented by Hankook Tires Pacific Tour Round Two race is set for 2:00 (MST) Sunday, April 4 at Phoenix International Raceway, as part of the 5th Annual Spring Invitational
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