Miata Cup: Pacific Tour Portland race notes

Sutherland Wins SCCA Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Round Five at Portland PORTLAND, Ore. (July 23, 2004) -- Local resident Ken Sutherland, of Beaverton, Ore., captured Round Five of the Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Presented by Hankoook Pacific Tour at Portland...

Sutherland Wins SCCA Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Round Five at Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. (July 23, 2004) -- Local resident Ken Sutherland, of Beaverton, Ore., captured Round Five of the Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Presented by Hankoook Pacific Tour at Portland International Raceway, as part of the Grand Prix of Portland event weekend. Fellow Oregonians Todd Harris, of Tigard, and Jon Davies, of Hood River, completed the top three.

In more than 100 degree heat, drivers took to the track for the penultimate round of the Pacific Tour season. Starting from the inside of row two, Sutherland quickly jumped in behind polesitter and current Pacific Tour point leader Andrew Fernandez, of San Dimas, Calif., heading into turn one. Running nose to tail beginning lap two, Sutherland, driving the No. 94 Wyatt Fire Protection Mazda Miata, got by Fernandez and never looked back. In fact, Sutherland led by more than eight seconds half way through the race, thanks to Fernandez and Harris, who were battling for position behind him. Sutherland's margin of victory was 2.221-seconds on the 1.944-mile circuit.

"I backed off the pace a little bit when I was told I had an eight second lead," Sutherland said. "The car ran great until the end. It started stumbling a little bit; I don't know why. It's the normal bugs that happen at the end of a long race when you have a big lead. The home track advantage was huge. I was impressed with a couple of the guys that came from out of town that qualified up front. I was hoping that they couldn't do that consistently and I think that the track familiarity paid off. Typically, the track gets really slick when it's hot, and of course, it's extraordinarily hot today, but the Hankook tires gripped very well throughout the race. I was impressed."

Sutherland finished second in the Miata Cup race at Portland a year ago.

Piloting the No. 60 Pro Drive Racing School Mazda Miata from the outside of row one, Harris dropped to third on the first lap and spent most of the race jockeying for second position with Fernandez. Harris passed Fernandez on lap 13 and set his sights on the leader, but it just wasn't enough as Harris recorded his first career Pacific Tour podium.

Davies, who was the defending race winner, drove the No. 67 Windsurfing Hawaii Mazda Miata to a solid third place finish.

Steve Ott, of Brighton, Colo., and Gary Bockman, of Portland, finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

Payton Wilson, of Gainesville, Va., finished sixth and as a result is the 2004 Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Presented by Hankook Atlantic Tour Champion.

Fernandez leads the Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Pacific Tour Championship with 123 points, followed by Davies (120), Christian Miller (114), Ott (113) and Mike Halpin, of Scottsdale, Ariz., (106). The Pacific Tour Championship will be decided at the conclusion of the Round Six race scheduled to begin at 4:45 p.m. Sunday, July 25 at PIR.

For more information, visit www.scca.com/Pro/MiataCup.asp.

-scca pro racing-

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Series SCCA
Drivers Mike Halpin , Payton Wilson , Chris Miller , Steve Ott