Saini Captures MX-5 Cup Pole for Race Two at Cleveland CLEVELAND, Ohio (June 23, 2007) -- Less than 24 hours after winning the first race of an SCCA Pro Racing SIRIUS Satellite Radio Mazda MX-5 Cup doubleheader, Cleveland native Jason Saini...
Saini Captures MX-5 Cup Pole for Race Two at Cleveland
CLEVELAND, Ohio (June 23, 2007) -- Less than 24 hours after winning the first race of an SCCA Pro Racing SIRIUS Satellite Radio Mazda MX-5 Cup doubleheader, Cleveland native Jason Saini took his first career-pole for race two. Saini's MER teammate Andrew Caddell, of Graham, Wash., completed the front row for the Round Six race, part of the Grand Prix of Cleveland Present by LaSalle Bank.
Further enhancing his return home to Cleveland, Saini earned his first-career pole and has put himself in a prime position for taking his second MX-5 Cup win of the weekend. Driving the No. 28 Autobarn Mazda/SafeRacer.com MX-5, Saini turned a 1:28.174 (85.984 mph) around the 2.106-mile temporary circuit at Burke Lakefront Airport, the fastest lap of the weekend for an MX-5 so far.
"I've been very aware that I haven't had a pole yet," Saini said. "It feels great. It was one of those classic things that going to this race as a kid, I've seen the qualifying battles where they'd trade fast laps at the end of the session and I did that. I was sitting in second and I came back in, but then I started dropping down the charts, so I decided to go back out. I had Randy Pobst in the back of my head, talking about how he'd take an extra risk or two on a qualifying session to get pole. I went into that final chicane and I did something I hadn't done all weekend long and it worked, so that's where I think the pole came from.
"I've got to thank the crew though, they've been putting in hundreds of hours, staying all hours of the night setting these cars up. We tried something new in practice and it didn't work too well, but we learned from that and put a setup on the car for qualifying that was fantastic."
Caddell, who started Friday's race from pole in his No. 30 Team MER/AimSport/Pinnacle Mazda MX-5, led much of the qualifying session with a 1:28.285 (85.876 mph), before getting dropped to the second spot by his teammate. Caddell is celebrating his 19th birthday today at the Grand Prix of Cleveland.
Matt Cross, of Folsom, Calif., in the No. 80 Hooverspeed/MobiTV MX-5 will start the race in third after putting in a lap of 1:28.597 (85.874 mph).
Runner-up in Friday night's race, Ara Malkhassian, of Sonoma, Calif., turned a lap of 1:28.665 (85.508 mph), putting his No. 11 Alara Racing MX-5 fourth on the grid. His teammate, Jesse Combs, of Woodlands, Texas, completed the top five with a lap of 1:28.782 (85.395 mph) in his No. 7 Coolgas Ltd./Alara Racing MX-5.
Andrew Carbonell, Elivan Goulart, Brad McAlister, Pratt Cole and John C. Kuitwaard completed the top ten.
Tonight's MX-5 Cup Round Six race is set to go green at 7:20 p.m. (EDT).