BOWMANVILLE, Ont. (May 23, 2004) – Payton Wilson, of Gainesville, Va., recorded his second win in as many days when he won Round Four of the SCCA Pro Racing Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Atlantic Tour Championship at Mosport International Raceway on Sunday, as part of the Victoria Day Weekend. Christian Miller, of Newark, Calif., and Chip Herr, of Lititz, Pa., completed the top three.-30-
Starting from the pole position, Wilson battled the Atlantic Tour point leader Niki Coello, who started on the outside of row one, early in the race with both competitors swapping the lead several times before Coello made a mistake that found him in the turn eight gravel.
“Niki [Coello] and I followed each other for the first four or five laps,” Wilson said. “Then he made a little mistake going into turn eight. He went off the track backwards and was stuck and couldn’t continue. They brought the yellow (flag) out for that and to get him back on the track. I ran with Niki all of last year and he doesn’t make too many mistakes. So, when he did, I’m just glad I was close enough to capitalize on it.”
As a result of Coello’s mistake, Wilson took over the lead in his No. 38 Victory By Design/Maaco Manassas/Colbalt machine just as the caution came out.
“We went a couple laps under yellow and I got a good restart,” Wilson added. “I was able to get away from them (the rest of the pack) a little bit. They were racing pretty hard just behind me. I slacked off a little bit the last couple of laps and they were able to catch up to me. So, it was fairly close at the finish.”
Not only did Wilson have the good fortune to capture his second career Miata Cup Atlantic Tour win by less than one second, but he did it with an unconventional race set-up.
“We woke up this morning to a very wet track,” Wilson said of the pre-race conditions. “I thought it was going to stay dry, but it started to rain again. Everybody was scrambling to make set-up and tire decisions, whether to go to wet or dry tires. We set the car up more for wet conditions, but stayed on dry tires.”
Miller, who qualified third in his No. 50 San Dimas Auto/wheeldude.com Miata, grabbed his second podium finish of the year with his second place performance. Traditionally competing in the Miata Cup Pacific Tour, Miller made the trek to Mosport in hopes of improving his position in the Pacific Tour point race.
Piloting the No. 24 OG Racing/Warwick Autopark Miata, the defending Atlantic Tour Champion Herr recorded his first podium finish of the year when he knifed his way through traffic from his 12th starting spot to finish third.
Shawn Dewey, of Townsend, Del., and Jason Saini, of Lake Forest, Ill., finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
Wilson’s two wins this weekend has landed him atop the Atlantic Tour point standings with 113 points, followed Coello (105 points), Ryan Pilla (90), Dewey (87) and Tom Long (71).
The SCCA Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Presented by Hankook Atlantic Tour next heads to Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn. for Rounds Five and Six May 29-31, as part of the Road Racing Classic Featuring The Mohegan Sun Grand Prix & Busch North 200
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