BOWMANVILLE, Ont. CANADA (May 17, 2008) – Ryan Schimsk, of Austin, Texas, was the quickest MX-5 in afternoon practice at Mosport International Raceway, but could not top the morning practice time set by Brett Smrz, of Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, for Round Two of the SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup at Victoria Day Speedfest.
The rain that interrupted morning MX-5 Cup practice continued throughout the day at Mosport, but ended just in time for the start of the series’ second practice. The 2.459-mile road course remained damp during the 30-minute session, but a dry line was visible.
Schimsk in the No. 81 Team MER/Airco Mechanical MX-5 led the afternoon session with a 1:36.921 (91.336 mph). The lap was a tick slower than his morning time, a 1:36.917 (91.340 mph), which put him third on the combined-practice time sheet behind Smrz and Christian Franck, of Simi Valley, Calif.
“The track conditions were a lot better than we thought they were going to be going out there,” Schimsk said. “We were hoping for a dry track and that’s what we got. The track didn’t lose any grip when the rain came and the lap times reflected that.”
Like Smrz, Schimsk is racing at Mosport for the first time this weekend.
“I have never been to Mosport. The track is really fast and a lot of fun. There’s going to be quite a few passing opportunities while drafting. It’s pretty much flat out everywhere and lots of fun.”
On the damp but drying course Smrz entered a 1:37.326 (90.956 mph). His morning time, a 1:36.690 (91.554 mph) was unbeatable in the afternoon session. The 17-year-old, who is racing with a prosthetic leg after a trampoline accident last year, is having fun in his first visit to Mosport.
“The track’s really fast,” Smrz said. “It’s a great track with a lot of speed, good drafting and good racing. It’s all around a good track.
“We’ve got a qualifying strategy, but I don’t want to say too much about it. Hopefully we’ll be able to get at least three Alara cars in the top five.”
Smrz’ teammate Franck, in the No. 16 Alara Racing MX-5, also turned his fastest lap in the morning session, a 1:36.765 (91.483 mph), which put him second on the practice times for the day.
Following Schimsk in the practice order is his teammate and point leader Eric Foss, of Fort Worth, Texas. Driving the No. 28 Team MER/Autobarn Mazda/Brooke Co. MX-5, Foss turned a 1:37.039 (91.225 mph) in the morning session, putting him fourth fastest on the day.
Robert Huffmaster, of Clarkston, Mich., ended the day in fifth with a lap of 1:37.066 (91.199 mph) in the No. 27 Team MER/Huffmaster Co. MX-5.
Each of the top five practice times were under the MX-5 Cup qualifying lap record at Mosport, a 1:37.115 (91.153 mph) set by Russ Bond in 2006, and were all set in the morning session.
Anders Hainer, Elivan Goulart, Steve Welk, Brad Rampelberg and Ara Malkhassian completed the top ten.
Qualifying for Round Two of the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup will take place at 9:10 a.m. (EDT), Sunday, May 17. The race is scheduled shortly thereafter, at 1:25 p.m. (EDT). Live timing and laps notes available at www.mx-5cup.com.