MX-5: Road America round seven preview

MX-5 Cup Round Seven Heads to Road America ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Aug. 13, 2009) -- With the end of summer now within sight, so too is the conclusion of the 2009 SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup season. Round Seven of the 10-race schedule ...

MX-5 Cup Round Seven Heads to Road America

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Aug. 13, 2009) -- With the end of summer now within sight, so too is the conclusion of the 2009 SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup season. Round Seven of the 10-race schedule is nearly underway as the teams head to Elkhart Lake, Wis., and historic Road America.

Look up dominance in the dictionary and you'll find a picture of Todd Lamb and his No. 84 AMG/Traqmate/Luna-C Racing MX-5. Lamb re-wrote the MX-5 Cup record books at Autobahn Country Club last month, taking his fifth-consecutive win from pole position. Yet still, Lamb does not lead the Drivers' Championship. By missing the opening round at Road Atlanta, Lamb is still shown 26 points behind Marc Miller. This does not phase Lamb, however, who knows that only the best nine of 10 races count toward a driver's point total at the end of the year, thus putting Lamb ahead of Miller in the final standings, should he not miss any more races and continue his winning ways.

If Lamb's photo resides under "dominance," in the dictionary, then Miller's photo would be found next to "persistence." Wherever Lamb is, there too is Miller. The driver of the No. 28 Team MER/MOCA/RaceNowforAutism/MMP MX-5 had finished runner-up to Lamb at each race, until most recently at Autobahn, where teammate Zach Ply beat Miller to the runner-up spot. Without a win or the disappearance of his rival, Miller will not be able to hold onto the Championship lead much longer, race drop included or not.

It was no surprise to see Ply cross the finish line second at Autobahn to earn his very first MX-5 podium; the driver of the No. 29 Insight Beverage Co. MX-5 works at the Joliet, Ill.-Country Club track. But event beyond that, Ply has been putting in solid finishes in at every round, always finishing higher than his grid spot. Autobahn likely wasn't the last time we'll see Ply on the podium.

Ply finishing second disrupted a pattern that had been present the previous three races; the finishing order for Rounds Three, Four and Five had each been Lamb, Miller and Justin Piscitell. At Autobahn, Piscitell was absent from the podium for only the second time this season, the first being when he finished sixth at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. With such impressive stats in his debut season of professional sports car racing, Piscitell has placed himself comfortably in third in the Drivers' Championship.

Could a change in cars get Stan Wilson's season back on track? After starting the year with three top-10 finishes, including a podium at Mazda Raceway, Wilson has been unable to finish any higher than 10th, thanks to a slew of bad luck on the race track. With the Hale Motorsports camp unable to make it to Road America this weekend, Wilson is hopping into Atlanta Motorsports Group's No. 6 AMG/NetEvidence/Alliance1 MX-5.

Ara Malkhassian will not be in attendance at Road America so that he can complete his family's move to Texas. This leaves Mark Jenkins in the No. 25 Traxxas/BFG/Simpson/Amsoil MX-5 as the highest finishing driver from last year's Road America race entered this weekend. Jenkins finished 10th in 2008's race and is, in fact, the only driver from the MX-5 Cup ranks to return this weekend.

Each lap around Road America in an MX-5 is a little more than two and a half minutes long, but previous races at this course have shown that that is two and a half minutes of bumper-to-bumper drafting and plenty of position shuffling. Even with Lamb's recent dominance, odds are the winner of the MX-5 Cup race won't be decided until they crest the hill at the finish line.

-credit: scca pro racing

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About this article
Series SCCA
Drivers Stan Wilson , Ara Malkhassian , Justin Piscitell , Marc Miller
Teams HART