MX-5: Series Autobahn practice one notes

Miller Quickest in First MX-5 Cup Practice at Autobahn Country Club JOLIET, Ill. (July 24, 2009) -- Marc Miller, of Holland, Mich., topped the first SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup practice session at Autobahn Country Club. Brian Domont,...

Miller Quickest in First MX-5 Cup Practice at Autobahn Country Club

JOLIET, Ill. (July 24, 2009) -- Marc Miller, of Holland, Mich., topped the first SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup practice session at Autobahn Country Club. Brian Domont, of Bourbonnais, Ill., and Zach Ply, of Joliet, Ill., were second and third quickest, respectively, in preparation for Sunday's Round Six race, part of the Harrah's Autobahn Grand Prix Presented by Mazda weekend.

This is not Miller's first visit to Autobahn Country Club, but it is the first time he's run the full 18-turn, 3.56-mile course. The current point leader is impressed with the mix of challenges the track presents.

"The track is very technical," Miller said. "It's got some good high-speed corners. It's got some bumps in places. You have to have a good balance with car setup. Things that will help you in some places will hurt you in others, so you almost have to just drive through half the stuff. I'm having a lot of fun driving through the side that the car isn't perfect in, but the car is on rails everywhere else."

Miller learned first hand the importance of car setup during the 30-minute practice session, as one small change lifted the driver from fourth to first on the time sheets. Piloting the No. 28 Team MER/MOCA/RaceNowforAutism/MMP MX-5, Miller clocked a 2:46.763 (76.851 mph) on his penultimate lap around the track.

"We made a change," Miller said. "We've been struggling with the same thing that most people have. We've been taking little stabs to rectify it, and we made a subtle change that made a big difference. It was immediately a night-and-day difference off the corner and felt really good. I'm feeling pretty confident with the car right now."

Miller will need to keep his confidence high this weekend as he attempts to stop Todd Lamb, of Atlanta, Ga., from collecting a record-breaking fifth-straight MX-5 Cup win.

"It's not about stopping Todd, it's about motivating ourselves to do a bit better," Miller added. "It's a wake up call to not be winning races. Even though it's practice, we're not sandbagging, we treat it like it's a race weekend and we need to learn as much as we can about the car. I think we're learning quite a bit, but tomorrow is when the real work begins."

After leading the majority of the practice session in his first-ever MX-5 Cup appearance, Domont ended the session second. Driving the No. 14 AMG MX-5, Domont turned a 2:46.851 (76.811 mph).

Another local and a regular at Autobahn Country Club, Ply turned the third fastest lap of the session, a 2:46.954 (76.763 mph) in the No. 27 Team MER/Insight Beverage Co. MX-5.

Winner of the last four races, Lamb, in the No. 84 AMG Racing/Traqmate/Luna-C Racing MX-5 ended the session in fourth with a 2:47.042 (76.723 mph).

Nick Mancuso, of nearby Mettawa, Ill., completed the top five in the No. 29 Team MER/LakeForestSportsCars/TireLyna MX-5. Mancuso entered a fast lap of 2:47.425 (76.547 mph).

Ara Malkhassian, Christopher Rhoades, Justin Piscitell, Richard Fisher and Mark Jenkins completed the top 10.

MX-5 Cup has one more practice session later today at 6:25 p.m. (CDT). Live timing and lap notes are available at www.mx-5cup.com. The series can also be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MazdaMX5Cup.

-credit: scca pro racing

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Series SCCA
Drivers Ara Malkhassian , Todd Lamb , Nick Mancuso , Justin Piscitell , Brian Domont , Marc Miller , Richard Fisher