MX-5: Team MER Cleveland race notes

Team MER Sweeps Cleveland Grand Prix Mazda MX-5 Cup Double-Header Saini takes both wins with teammate, Andrew Caddell, battling for the win both days PORTLAND, OR (June 25, 2007) --- Team MER won their fourth consecutive Sirius Satellite Radio...

Team MER Sweeps Cleveland Grand Prix Mazda MX-5 Cup Double-Header Saini takes both wins with teammate, Andrew Caddell, battling for the win both days

PORTLAND, OR (June 25, 2007) --- Team MER won their fourth consecutive Sirius Satellite Radio Mazda MX-5 Cup Championship event and their fifth of the season, thanks to a two-race sweep by Jason Saini at the Cleveland Grand Prix double-header this past weekend. Saini took his first career pole and his third and fourth wins of the season over the weekend that saw no less than 20 lead changes. The Cleveland area native increased his points lead to a whopping 42-points over teammate, Andrew Caddell, who moved up into second-place with the help of a pole and two podium finishes.

"This weekend has got to be the highlight of my career," said Saini (TheAutoBarn.com / Team MER). "This is where I grew up and ultimately got interested in racing, so doing so well here means a lot. Team MER has done an incredible job this season and we only seem to be getting better at this point."

Team MER teammate, Andrew Caddell, fresh off his first career victory at Portland two weeks ago was in the hunt for the win in both races, leading both races and started on the pole position in race #1. The 19-year-old driver finished 3rd in race #1 and 2nd for race #2.

"I had to overcome adversity in both races," said Caddell (Pinnacle Mazda / Team MER / AIM). "In race one I picked up some debris on my tires and thought my race was done, but the crew told me to relax and stay focused and the car came back to me. I was able to run down the pack again after that. For race two I got pushed really wide on the start and lost a bunch of spots. Again the crew helped keep me focused and I had a great battle for the win with Jason. We both made last lap mistakes, mine just cost me the win. These races should make for great television though!"

Rick Bellew (B&W Supply / Team MER) did a great job of working his way up into the top-6 in Friday's race and eventually ended up with a 9th place result. His luck Saturday wasn't as good and he was forced to retire with seven laps remaining. He finished in 24th.

Two new cars were added to the Team MER stable with sponsorship from Traxxas Radio Controlled Cars and Jentek. Mike and Mark Jenkins moved up from the Spec Miata class to enter the series as rookies and improved the entire weekend.

It was Mark Jenkins had a 18th place finish on Friday, but on Saturday ran as high as 6th place early on and finished in the 13th spot. Mike was consistent and improved from his 23rd place result on Friday to finish 16th on Saturday.

"We have really come together as a team," said Marc Miller, who acted as team engineer for the event. "Everyone involved in the team this weekend provided something vital and necessary and accomplished their tasks without a hitch. We are proud to welcome some new drivers to the team and look forward to the return of our teammates that couldn't make it to Cleveland."

Team MER will campaign cars in the next SCCA Sirius Satellite Mazda MX-5 Cup event at the G.P. of Trois Rivieres in Quebec, Canada on August 18-19. This will be the series second visit to the street event.

-credit: mer

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Series SCCA
Drivers Rick Bellew , Jason Saini , Andrew Caddell , Marc Miller