PORTLAND, Ore. (July 25, 2004) – Ken Sutherland, of Beaverton, Ore., captured his second-consecutive win at Portland International Raceway to close out the 2004 SCCA Pro Racing Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Presented by Hankook season. Andrew Fernandez, of San Dimas, Calif., and Payton Wilson, of Gainesville, Va., were crowned Champions of the Pacific and Atlantic Tours, respectively.
After winning Friday’s first half of the weekend doubleheader finale, Sutherland started fourth in his Wyatt Fire Protection Mazda Miata Sunday and watched as the drivers in front of him banged and battled themselves out of contention. Sutherland slipped into the lead on lap 12 of the 25-lap, 48.6-mile contest and never relinquished it to take a 0.438-second win over Todd Harris, of Tigard, Ore.
Harris started his No. 60 Pro Drive Racing School Mazda Miata from the pole, and led the opening four laps before Jon Davies, of Hood River, Ore., took the point in his No. 67 Windsurfing Hawaii entry. Davies and Harris then came under attack from Pacific Tour point leader Fernandez, who made a bold move into the Festival Curves, banging side-by-side with Davies, with both continuing.
Davies regained the point one lap later and held it until Fernandez made another attack on lap 12, this timing running past Davies deep into the Festival Corners. When he recovered, Davies was back in front, but Fernandez gave him a nudge and spun him around, back to ninth place. Fernandez received a stop-and-go penalty for the move, which put him back to ninth two laps later.
With Fernandez and Davies out of the picture, Sutherland took the lead and held off Harris and a charging Gary Bockman over the last 12 laps.
“I sat back early in the race and watched,” Sutherland said of the first half of the contest. “Those guys began beating on each other in front, and knocking each other off. When Andrew [Fernandez] beat on Jon [Davies], we drove right by. Todd took the lead, but then missed a shift and that opened the door for me to get through.”
Bockman, of Portland, Ore., started 12th in his 99 West Trailers entry, and earned the Sunoco Hard Charger Award for his drive to third. Steve Ott, of Brighton, Colo., was a contender for the lead early, and came home fourth, followed by Davies, who recovered to fifth.
Fernandez charged late in the race, and a brake problem from early contender Wilson helped him on the last lap, as he was able to get by and into seventh place. Fernandez’s finish gave him enough points to top Davies by just one marker to capture the Pacific Tour Championship. Fernandez took the title with 144 points to Davies’ 143. Ott finished third in the Championship, with 136, followed by Christian Miller (133) and Mike Halpin (111).
Wilson clinched the Atlantic Tour Championship with his finish in Friday’s contest. Wilson, who soldiered to an eighth place, completed the season with 179 points. Shawn Dewey was second, with 160 points, followed by Tom Long (147), Niki Coello (138) and James Evans (127).
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