MX-5: Portland qualifying notes

Local Driver McAllister Wins Pole in the Wet at Portland PORTLAND, Ore. (June 9, 2007) -- No stranger to a wet track at Portland International Raceway, Portland driver Brad McAllister won his first-career MX-5 Cup pole for Round Four of the...

Local Driver McAllister Wins Pole in the Wet at Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. (June 9, 2007) -- No stranger to a wet track at Portland International Raceway, Portland driver Brad McAllister won his first-career MX-5 Cup pole for Round Four of the SCCA Pro Racing SIRIUS Satellite Radio Mazda MX-5 Cup race, part of the Mazda Grand Prix of Portland Presented by Joe's. Eighteen year-old Andrew Caddell, of Graham, Wash., completed the front row.

On a day plagued with rain, the MX-5 Cup cars faced a track littered with standing water for their 30-minute qualifying session.

McAllister jumped to the top of the times early in the session behind the wheel of his No. 39 ACE Surgical Supply/H&M Motorsports MX-5, then traded fast laps with Caddell numerous times throughout the session before setting a lap of 1:44.796 (67.571 mph) just past the halfway mark. The red flag would come out shortly after, as officials retrieved the No. 21 Hale Motorsports/Hole In the Wall Camps MX-5 of Randy Hale, from Haddam, Conn., from Turn Eight.

When the track went green again, the field had less than four minutes to improve their times around the 1.967-mile track, but no one could defeat McAllister on his home turf.

"With all the local races here in the rain I think it really helped to know the line," McAllister said. "These Kumho tires were beautiful. They felt really nice in the rain."

McAllister was confident of a strong race performance on Sunday regardless of the weather conditions.

"We were fourth fastest [in practice] and ran good in every session, so the car feels good in the dry as well as in the rain. I'm looking forward to a podium tomorrow and let's see if we can't hold out for the win. I think I'd prefer the rain, but either one is okay.

"All the family is here and we've got more crew than we know what to do with. I've got to thank Mark Jano who is a real estate agent that's been helping us out a lot. I'd also like to thank H&M Motorsports, they're part of the Herzog-Meier Mazda group, because they've been real instrumental in helping us get the car prepared."

Caddell in the No. 30 TeamMER/AimSport/Pinnacle Mazda MX-5 led the session several times, but with a lap of 1:45.158 (67.338 mph) he would have to settle for second. It may not have been a pole, but it was the young driver's career-best qualifying effort.

Current Championship leader Jason Saini, of Fort Worth, Texas, will start Sunday's race from third on the grid after turning a 1:45.886 (66.875 mph) in qualifying.

Driving the No. 58 BSI/Team Garcia/MOMO/Joe Gibbs MX-5, Andrew Carbonell, of Miami, Fla., earned his career-best grid position of fourth with a lap of 1:46.634 (66.406 mph). Patrick Barrett, of Los Osos, Calif., also put in his best qualifying of the year and will start his No. 29 AutismSpeaks.org/SafeRacer.com MX-5 fifth on the grid after turning a 1:47.221 (66.043 mph).

Todd Buras, Pratt Cole, Jesse Combs, Ara Malkhassian and Rick Bellew complete the top ten.

Sunday's Round Four MX-5 Cup race is scheduled to go green at 4:00 p.m. (PDT). Scattered showers are in the forecast.

For full event news from Portland including live timing and lap notes visit www.mx-5cup.com

-credit: scca pro racing

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Series SCCA
Drivers Pratt Cole , Randy Hale , Ara Malkhassian , Andrew Carbonell , Rick Bellew , Todd Buras , Jason Saini , Patrick Barrett , Andrew Caddell , Jesse Combs