Daniels Takes Lime Rock Pole, Then Breaks Transmission During MX-5 Cup Qualifying

LAKEVILLE, Conn. (May 27, 2006) -- A weekend that started out less than ordinary for SCCA Pro Racing SIRIUS Satellite Radio Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by Hankook competitor Jim Daniels, of Germantown, Tenn., took another twist during Saturday's lone MX-5 Cup qualifying session after he took the pole position for Monday's race, part of the Rolex GT Sports Car weekend at Lime Rock Park, with a 1:01.972 (88.878 mph). Anders Hainer, of Hidden Hills, Calif., will start second.

After running just four laps in his No. 76 specmiata.com/Team MER Mazda MX-5, Daniels' car suffered a broken transmission, forcing the driver to watch as the rest of the MX-5 Cup field took aim at his top time.

However, no one was able to top Daniels, who missed Friday's practice sessions as he attended his children's graduation ceremonies.

"Those things only come once," Daniels said of his kids' achievements. "And they are more important to me than racing.

"Essentially, we had a shift fork problem in the transmission after about four laps. I was still trying to figure out what gear the car should be in. I thought, I know, she has a little bit more left in her. But that's the way it is, and the time was good enough to stick.

"We'll have to pull the transmission, replace the shift fork, readjust it and cross our fingers that it will be okay for the race."

Though replacing the parts means extra repair work, Daniels was quick to find a silver lining in the partly cloudy day.

"Maybe this is something beautiful for us," Daniels said. "I'm happy to run these tires for the race. I've got the least amount of laps on them, and I'm starting up front. Maybe that'll work.

"We'll get the transmission fixed, and it's going to be a hell of a race."

Hainer, in the No. 13 Under Armour Mazda MX-5, will join Daniels on the front row after turning a 1:02.112 (88.678 mph).

Jason Saini, of Fort Worth, Texas (No. 28 specmiata.com/Autobarn Mazda Mazda MX-5) and first-round runner-up Todd Buras, of Melbourne, Fla. (No. 56 BSI Racing/supportthem.com Mazda MX-5) make up the second row of the second-ever MX-5 Cup race after posting a 1:02.136 (88.644 mph) and 1:02.223 (88.520 mph), respectively.

John Kuitwaard, of Wantagh, N.Y., will start fifth in his No. 09 P1-Motorsports.com/HKF Racing Mazda MX-5 after turning a 1:02.312 (88.393 mph).

In all, the top eight times were within nine-tenths of a second.

After an off-day tomorrow, Monday's SCCA Pro Racing SIRIUS Satellite Radio Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by Hankook race, part of the Rolex GT Sports Car Weekend, is set for 5:15 p.m. (EDT).

To follow MX-5 Cup race action live via the web, go to www.mx-5cup.com, click the Lime Rock Park event button under the 2006 schedule menu and then select the "Live Timing and Scoring Link Brought to You by SCCA.com" link in the middle of the page.

-scca pro racing-