MX-5: Laguna Seca practice one notes

Buras Paces Opening MX-5 Cup Practice at Mazda Raceway Monterey, Calif., (Oct. 17, 2008) -- Todd Buras, of Melbourne, Fla., topped morning practice at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the final round of the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5...

Buras Paces Opening MX-5 Cup Practice at Mazda Raceway

Monterey, Calif., (Oct. 17, 2008) -- Todd Buras, of Melbourne, Fla., topped morning practice at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the final round of the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup Championship, part of the Monterey Sports Car Championships. San Jose driver Brad Rampelberg was second, followed by Ryan Schimsk, of Austin, Texas.

Piloting the No. 56 Hooverspeed/Pancreaticcure.org MX-5, Buras just nipped teammate Rampelberg for the top time of the 20-minute session, entering a 1:42.643 (78.493 mph). Reflecting on how his car felt around the 11-turn, 2.238-mile road course, Buras was surprised to learn he was the quickest of the session.

"The car was good, but I think we can do a lot more for it," Buras said. "There's a still a lot more left. We had a severe push into the corner, loose out of the corner scenario, and I went through the gravel quite a bit. I didn't think we'd be the fastest, so I was really surprised when I came in to see where we were at. I'm looking forward to qualifying though, because I think we have a good shot here.

"Hooverspeed has worked really hard on these cars today and I have to say thanks to my sponsor, pancreaticcaner.org, and say 'hi' to my wife and kids for letting me be here this weekend."

A long shot to win the MX-5 Cup Championship this weekend, Buras will need to win Sunday's race while point leader Foss fails to finish, if he hopes to claim the title. Despite facing such unfavorable odds, Buras is enjoying Monterey.

"I'm having the time of my life here. I know I'm a long shot for the Championship this weekend, but I'm not thinking about that. I just know that traditionally I've done pretty well here."

Just 0.019-second off of Buras' time, Rampelberg put his No. 14 Hooverspeed/Mazda MX-5 second on the time sheets. The local favorite entered a quick time of 1:42.662 (78.478 mph).

Schimsk was third in the No. 81 Team MER/Aicro Mechanical MX-5. The 22-year-old clocked a 1:42.730 (78.427 mph).

Making his first MX-5 Cup appearance, SCCA SPEED World Challenge driver Eric Curran, of East Hampton, Mass., was fourth fastest in the session. Driving the No. 30 Hale Motorsports/Whelen Motorsports MX-5, Curran entered a 1:42.832 (78.349 mph).

Californian Ara Malkhassian completed the top five. The Sonoma driver turned a 1:42.914 (78.286 mph) in the No. 11 Alara Racing MX-5.

Christian Franck, Robert Michaelian, Bobby Carter and Robert Huffmaster completed the top five.

The second MX-5 Cup practice session of the day will take place at 5:50 p.m. (PDT). Live timing and lap notes are available at www.mx-5cup.com.

-credit: scca pro racing

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Series SCCA-PRO