LAKEVILLE, Conn. (May 26, 2003) -- It took all afternoon, but the rains finally quit and the track dried out just enough to allow Chip Herr, of Litiz, Penn., to speed up and hold off second-place finisher Payton Wilson, of Gainesville, Va., in the...
LAKEVILLE, Conn. (May 26, 2003) -- It took all afternoon, but the rains finally quit and the track dried out just enough to allow Chip Herr, of Litiz, Penn., to speed up and hold off second-place finisher Payton Wilson, of Gainesville, Va., in the third round of the SCCA Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Presented by Hankook Tires Atlantic Tour, part of the Mohegan Sun Presents the Lime Rock Park Grand Prix.
After being fastest in both the wet and dry qualifying sessions Friday and Saturday, Herr jumped out early in the No. 24 Warwick Autopark/Perfomance Buyers Club entry and built a 10-second lead. But Wilson, in his No. 38 Cobaltt Friction/Piper Motorsports Miata, steadily moved up the ranks from his 11th-place starting spot to second through 14 laps, all the while whittling down Herr's lead.
A full course caution on lap 19 bunched the field, but Herr held off Wilson in the race's closing laps on the drying track to win the 33-lap, 50.49-mile contest by 1.379 seconds.
"The yellow coming out was the worse thing that could happen to us," said Herr, who claimed his second victory of the season. "We both got a great run going into turn one (after the restart) and locked them up, but I was able to hold the lead."
The second place finish was more than okay for Wilson.
"What a lot of fun!" said Wilson. "There are a lot of great drivers out there. It was definitely starting to dry out, and I couldn't get around Chip (Herr) after the yellow."
Before Wilson began his ascent up the leaderboard to challenge Herr, it was Greg Stasiowski, of Washington, Penn., early on who pressured the leader. He eventually finished third.
"I started the race strong," said Stasiowski. "But I got really loose and had to back out of it a little. A few other guys had to do the same thing and ended up handing some positions to me."
Shawn Dewey, of Townsend, Del., was consistent all weekend and finished fourth on Monday after qualifying third. Bill Trout, of Sharon, Mass., completed the top five.
While Wilson's move up through the field was impressive, he wasn't the biggest mover in the race. Instead, the Sunoco Hard Charger award for the most positions gained from start to finish went to Paul Hacker, of Kinderhook, N.Y. Hacker started in the 23rd position, but utilized a dry tire setup to jump up to seventh.
"We had a great race out there today and Hankook really makes an excellent tire," said Hacker.
Herr's victory vaulted him into the Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Presented by Hankook Tires Atlantic Championship point lead, with 68. Wilson is now second, with 67, followed by Stasiowski (65), Shawn Dewey (61) and Ryan Pilla (58).
The fourth round of The SCCA Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Presented by Hankook Tires will next be at VIRginia International Raceway, the weekend of June 14-15. For more information, please visit www.sccapro.com.
-scca pro racing-