SONOMA, Calif. (Aug. 28, 2005) – Before one SCCA Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Presented by Hankook competitor put his car on the Infineon Raceway this weekend, 2005 Pacific Tour Champion Justin Hall, of Davis, Calif., said he would do everything in his power to eliminate any drama.-30-
Boy, did he.
As dominant as he was in the No. 12 OFF Camber Racing 1990 Mazda Miata during Round 5 on Saturday, he was even more so in Sunday’s Round 6, blitzing the field with an average speed of 70.772 mph and running the best lap (1:55.622) on lap two to earn his second victory in as many days after setting a new qualifying record Sunday morning. Hall’s Sunday performance meant two poles and two victories - a complete sweep of the double-round weekend for Hall on the 2.26-mile track.
Behind Hall’s blistering performance, Terry McCarthy, of Mountain View, Calif., paced his No. 29 FMG/880 Trailer/Rebello Racing Engines 1995 Mazda Miata through the 16-lap race, gradually improving from his fourth starting position to finish behind Hall for the second time this weekend. Carlo Sparacio, of Federal Way, Wash., wound up third for the second-consecutive round in his No. 2 TC Motorsports/Group 2 Motorsports 1992 Mazda Miata.
Though it looked like a breeze for him from the time the green flag dropped, Hall said it was what was happening behind him that made the difference.
“There was a lot of competition there,” Hall said. “But I had the pole and was able to get out of Turn 2 in the lead. The guys behind me were battling a little bit, and I’m good on cold tires. The Hankook Tires are good cold anyways, and I was able to turn three or four laps in the :55’s in a row and extend a gap.
“At that point, it’s all about hitting your apexes and putting it in cruise control.”
The whole Argent Mortgage Grand Prix weekend followed the same script that McCarthy’s entire season had read, and Sunday capped it off when his Miata’s engine misfired as it had done previously. Fortunately, however, after losing second place to Sparacio at Turn 9 on the final lap, McCarthy caught a break.
“I had a miss, had to start short-shifting again, and he was on me,” McCarthy said. “He passed me, and then when we went into Turn 11, I tried to move my nose all the way over to the right, so that he would think I was going to pass him. I mean, it’s the last corner of the last lap, hell yes I’m going to try and pass him if I have an opportunity.
“He went all the way to the inside, and I pulled up alongside him. My only hope was that he got on the throttle too early, and he did. As soon as I saw his rear end come out, I ducked inside and squeezed ahead of him. He almost spun out and had to get off the throttle, and I got past him.”
While he had to settle for third, Sparacio said that the weekend’s pair of podium finishes was something he could not be happier about considering he had never previously raced at Infineon.
“I tried to defend my line going into Turn 11 after what I thought was a pretty spectacular pass going into Turn 9,” Sparacio said. “I went in a little too deep, ran into a little bit of trouble back there, spread out a little bit wide, and he got me right at the line there.
“We just wanted to finish in the Top Five somewhere this weekend,” Sparacio continued. “Having that with our being here for the first time is just spectacular.”
David McAnaney, of Davis, Calif., climbed to third before winding up fourth in his No. OFF Camber Racing 1990 Mazda Miata, while Brad Rampelberg, of San Jose, Calif., put three OFF Camber drivers in the top five by finishing fifth in his No. 13 OFF Camber Racing 1990 Mazda Miata.
With both the Atlantic and Pacific Tours now complete, attention now turns to the SCCA Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Championship, which will feature the best drivers from both sides of the Mississippi. The Championship will run as part of the Petit Le Mans weekend at Road Atlanta, Sept. 29-31.
For more information, visit www.scca.com.
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