Daniels Pads Championship Lead With Third-Straight MX-5 Cup Pole At Trois-Rivieres
CANADA (Aug. 5, 2006) -- Series point leader Jim Daniels, of Germantown, Tenn., captured his fourth SCCA Pro Racing SIRIUS Satellite Radio Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by Hankook pole position of the season Saturday, and will lead the field to the green Sunday at Le Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres in Quebec. Chief Championship rival Todd Buras, of Melbourne, Fla., will start second.
Within the first five minutes, Daniels turned what he felt would be a time good enough for the pole in his No. 76 saferacer.com/Team MER Mazda MX-5 and set off to the pits to wait.
"I think some teams were sandbagging a little bit in practice [Friday] because they picked up a lot of time today," Daniels said.
The first driver to eclipse Daniels' lap was the driver who topped both Friday practice sessions, Anders Hainer, of Hidden Hills, Calif. Hainer became the second driver into the 1:16 range, with a 1:16.861 (71.240 mph) to go to the top in his No. 13 Under Armour Mazda MX-5 at the halfway point.
Three minutes later, Buras, who did not finish the previous race at Portland International Raceway in his No. 56 BSI Racing/supportthem.com Mazda MX-5 to fall 35-points off Daniels' point lead, went to the top of the charts with a 1:16.816 (71.282 mph). Buras reportedly brushed the wall on the next lap, reporting to the pits for the remainder of the session with what he hoped would stand up for his first pole.
Daniels asked his crew to make a small adjustment to the car and then set off to try to reclaim pole, which he did in one try, to turn a time of 1:16.685 (71.404 mph).
"I was in the pits to cool off the tires and save them for the race, since we race on what we qualify," Daniels said. "I dropped the pressures by a couple pounds and went out to do one more lap and it worked.
"After Todd [Buras] had his problem at Portland, the team has gone into cautious mode because we have a nice lead. Everything we do from when we unload the car through the weekend is super-sensitive."
Picking up an additional point over Buras in qualifying to now lead points by 36, Daniels admitted that when he gets behind the wheel, it's a bit of a different story.
"I'm just driving like I drive," he said. "If you drive cautious and go slower, that's when you have problems."
Daniels' teammate Jason Saini, of Fort Worth, Texas, will line up fourth in his No. 28 MER/specmiata.com/Autobarn Mazda Mazda MX-5 entry, followed by Buras' teammate Payton Wilson, of Chantilly, Va., in his BSI Racing/Miami Dade Health Mazda MX-5.
Sunday's Round Six of the eight-race inaugural SCCA Pro Racing SIRIUS Satellite Radio Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by Hankook season will take the green flag Sunday at 10:05 a.m. (EDT). To follow the race along via live timing and scoring and for additional information, please visit www.mx-5cup.com.
Sunday's race will be broadcast later this year, along with all other MX-5 Cup events, on SPEED Channel.
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