MILLVILLE, N.J. (Sept. 27, 2008) – Robert Huffmaster, of Clarkston, Mich., scored his first SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup pole at the brand-new Thunderbolt Raceway in preparation for Sunday’s Round Seven race. His teammate, Eric Foss, of Fort Worth, Texas, will start alongside him in second.
Fresh off a runner-up finish in Round Six at Miller Motorsports Park, Huffmaster’s momentum carried across the country to New Jersey Motorsports Park where he scored his very first MX-5 Cup pole.
“The first five races, I really struggled in qualifying, my best was fifth, but at
Miller I turned it around and qualified second,” Huffmaster said. “Now if feels great to have my first pole.”
Circulating the wet, but drying 14-turn, 2.25-mile road course, Huffmaster’s time in the No. 27 Team MER/Huffmaster Co. MX-5 continued to improve, until reaching a pole time of 1:32.001 (84.912 mph) on his sixth lap.
“Early on it was a little damp, but it had a good dry line and the track was fast.
“The reason I’m on the pole is because of [teammates] Ryan [Schimsk] and Eric helping me out. They gave me a little bit of a tow. I think we’re all going to be right there and it’ll be a great race. I’m sure me, Eric and Ryan will all talk before the race about keeping it clean and hopefully we’ll walk away with a Team MER one-two-three.”
Current MX-5 Cup point leader Foss will start second in the No. 28 Team MER/Autobarn Mazda MX-5. Foss turned his quickest lap, a 1:32.134 (84.789 mph), late in the 25-minute session, which ended early to remove the No. 19 Shopzilla/Hooverspeed MX-5 of Robert Michaelian, who was stranded in Turn Seven.
Schimsk, of Austin, Texas, made it an Team MER one-two-three at the front of the grid, placing his No. 81 Team MER/Airco Mechanical MX-5 in the third spot. Schimsk entered a qualifying time of 1:32.320 (84.618 mph).
Ara Malkhassian, of Sonoma, Calif., could be in for his third podium finish in-a-row, starting just outside the top three. Driving the No. 11 Alara Racing MX-5, Malkhassian turned a 1:32.438 (84.510 mph).
Winner of last weekend’s event at Miller Motorsports Park, Brad Rampelberg, of San Jose, Calif., turned a 1:32.456 (84.494 mph) and will start fifth in the No. 14 Hooverspeed/Mazda/Patron Tequila MX-5.
Todd Buras, who sits third in the MX-5 Cup Championship will start sixth. Mike Jenkins, Michaelian, Mark Jenkins and Randy Hale III complete the top 10 on the grid.
The penultimate round of the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup is scheduled for 10:15 a.m. (EDT). Live timing and lap notes are available at www.mx-5cup.com. The race will air on DIRECTV, Dish Network and regional cable sports networks the week of October 27th. Check your local listings or the MX-5 Cup Web site for broadcast times.
MILLVILLE, N.J. - Starting lineup for Sunday's SCCA Pro Racing SCCA Playboy MX-5 Cup Round Seven race, part of the ARCA/REMAX Series Weekend at Thunderbolt Raceway, with position, car number in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, fastest lap time, and speed in miles per hour.
1, (27), Robert Huffmaster, Clarkston, Mich., MX-5, 1:32.001, 84.912.
2, (28), Eric Foss, Fort Worth, Texas, MX-5, 1:32.134, 84.789.
3, (81), Ryan Schimsk, Austin, Texas, MX-5, 1:32.320, 84.618.
4, (11), Ara Malkhassian, Sonoma, Calif., MX-5, 1:32.438, 84.510.
5, (14), Brad Rampelberg, San Jose, Calif., MX-5, 1:32.456, 84.494.
6, (56), Todd Buras, Melbourne, Fla., MX-5, 1:32.645, 84.321.
7, (47), Mike Jenkins, Fairview, Texas, MX-5, 1:33.176, 83.841.
8, (19), Robert Michaelian, Seal Beach, Calif., MX-5, 1:33.464, 83.583.
9, (25), Mark Jenkins, Fairview, Texas, MX-5, 1:33.574, 83.484.
10, (21), Randy Hale_III, Haddam, Conn., MX-5, 1:34.284, 82.856.
11, (26), Tim Probert, Houston, Texas, MX-5, 1:34.350, 82.798.
12, (35), Bob Audet, Alexandria, Va., MX-5, 1:34.510, 82.658.
13, (54), Brad Adams, New Orleans, La., MX-5, 1:34.976, 82.252.
14, (22), Laura Olson, Costa Mesa, Calif., MX-5, 1:34.981, 82.248.
15, (12), Alison Malkhassian., Sonoma, Calif., MX-5, no time.