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Road Atlanta: Touring Car practice one notes

Herr Leads Morning SPEED TC Practice at Road Atlanta BRASELTON, Ga. (Oct. 1, 2008) -- Chip Herr, of Lititz, Pa., topped the opening practice session for the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED Touring Car Finale Presented by Toyo Tires, part of the 11th ...

Herr Leads Morning SPEED TC Practice at Road Atlanta

BRASELTON, Ga. (Oct. 1, 2008) -- Chip Herr, of Lititz, Pa., topped the opening practice session for the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED Touring Car Finale Presented by Toyo Tires, part of the 11th Annual Petit Le Mans Presented by the All New MAZDA6 at Road Atlanta. Jim Daniels, of Germantown, Tenn., and teammate Jason Saini, of Fort Worth, Texas, were second and third quickest, respectively.

After more than a month since the last round of the SCCA SPEED Touring Car Championship, Herr hopped into his No. 97 Mazdaspeed/Tindol Motorsports MAZDA6 and immediately led the opening practice session of the weekend.

"The car is really good so far," Herr said. "We've got a lot of help here at Tindol Motorsports this weekend. We've got a lot of assistance from Ohlins and we have Martin [Ohlin] in the fourth car, so there is a little more data. I've been a real data geek all week. This is a really important race for us after what happened at Mosport, where I ended up fifth in what should have been a Tindol one-two.

Continuing to improve his times throughout the 20-minute session, Herr's time of 1:33.419 (97.881 mph) around the 12-turn, 2.54-mile course stood at the top of the practice sheets when the checkered flag flew.

"Mazdas have a history of doing well here," Herr continued. "We're going to keep working at it and making changes to try to make the car a little better each time out. My crew chief Barry [Trivette] and I have been working really well together. It's just practice, but it's still nice to be on top."

Two more Mazdas, those of the Tri-Point teammates Daniels and Saini completed the top three. Daniels' lap of 1:33.686 (97.602 mph) in the No. 75 Mazdaspeed/Stoptech/Racinghart MAZDA6 was good enough for second. Saini followed in the No. 74 Mazdaspeed/Stoptech/Racinghart MAZDA6 with a 1:33.748 (97.538 mph).

Last year's SPEED Touring Car race winner at Road Atlanta, Michael Galati, of Olmsted, Ohio, was fourth fastest in the session. Galati entered a time of 1:33.765 (97.520 mph) in the No. 95 Mazda North America/Tindol MAZDA6.

Residing in nearby Cumming, Ga., Seth Thomas completed the top five in the No. 38 BimmerWorld/GearWrench BMW 325i. Thomas clocked a lap of 1:33.829 (97.453 mph) late in the session.

Thomas' teammate, James Clay (BMW 325i), followed him on the time sheets in sixth. Current point leader Peter Cunningham (Acura TSX) could only manage seventh quickest. Charles Espenlaub (MAZDA6), Kuno Wittmer (Acura TSX) and Eric Curran (Acura RSX) completed the top 10.

The SCCA SPEED Touring Cars have one more practice session today at 5:05 p.m. (EDT). Live timing and lap notes will be available at www.world-challenge.com.

-credit: scca pro racing

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Series PWC
Drivers Peter Cunningham , Eric Curran , Charles Espenlaub , James Clay , Kuno Wittmer , Chip Herr , Seth Thomas , Jim Daniels , Jason Saini