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Road Atlanta: Touring Car practice two notes

Saini Tops SPEED TC Practice Times at Road Atlanta BRASELTON, Ga. (Oct. 1, 2008) -- Jason Saini, of Fort Worth, Texas, led the afternoon practice session for the SCCA SPEED Touring Car Finale Presented by Toyo Tires® and set the fastest ...

Saini Tops SPEED TC Practice Times at Road Atlanta

BRASELTON, Ga. (Oct. 1, 2008) -- Jason Saini, of Fort Worth, Texas, led the afternoon practice session for the SCCA SPEED Touring Car Finale Presented by Toyo Tires® and set the fastest practice time of the day at Road Atlanta, site of the 11th Annual Petite Le Mans Presented by the All New MAZDA6. Jim Daniels, of Germantown, Tenn., and Michael Galati, of Olmsted, Ohio, were second and third fastest, respectively.

Driving the No. 74 Mazdaspeed/Stoptech/Racinghart MAZDA6, Saini found nearly half a second from his morning practice time to set the fastest lap of the afternoon SCCa SPEED Touring Car practice session. His lap of 1:33.266 (98.042 mph) around the 12-turn, 2.54-mile circuit was also the fastest time of the day.

"We tried some stuff on the car and it worked," Saini said. "The team's been working really hard. We've had our ups and downs this year, but we want to finish the season strong. We did some testing before this race and it's paid off. The cars have been fast since we've unloaded and they keep getting faster. Tri-Point and Mazda are doing a great job and we're looking forward to a good result this weekend."

Saini, who clinched the SPEED Touring Car Rookie of the Year Title at Mosport in August, was the leader in a pack of four MAZDA6s at the top of the practice times.

"Mazda won [at Road Atlanta] last year and have always been pretty strong here, but the testing definitely helped," Saini continued. "It's one of those things where we've applied it to all the cars and we've been really fast this weekend, so we're hoping for a strong qualifying tomorrow."

Saini's Tri-Point teammate Daniels was second fastest in the No. 75 Mazdaspeed/Stoptech/Racinghart MAZDA6. Daniels entered a time of 1:33.550 (97.744 mph).

Last year's SPEED Touring Car race winner at Road Atlanta, Galati, put his No. 95 Mazda North America/Tindol MAZDA6 third on the practice sheets with a 1:33.551 (97.743 mph).

Chip Herr, of Lititz, Pa., who topped the morning practice session in his No. 97 Mazdaspeed/Tindol Motorsports MAZDA6 was unable to replicate his morning times. A 1:33.622 (97.669 mph) was the best he could muster in the 20-minute afternoon session.

Current Championship point leader Peter Cunningham, of Milwaukee, Wisc., completed the top five in the No. 42 Acura/RealTime/Eibach/Red Line Oil Acura TSX. The RealTime Racing team owner clocked a fast lap of 1:33.764 (97.521 mph).

Local driver Seth Thomas (BMW 325i), who lives in nearby Cumming, Ga., was sixth in the afternoon session. His teammate, James Clay (BMW 325i), followed in seventh.

Charles Espenlaub (MAZDA6), Kuno Wittmer (Acura TSX) and Pierre Kleinubing (Acura TSX) completed the top 10.

With the exception of Herr, all drivers in the top 10 turned faster times in the afternoon session. Herr's morning time, of 1:33.419 (97.881 mph), which topped the morning session, placed him second on the combined practice times between Saini and Daniels.

Qualifying for the SCCA SPEED Touring Car Finale Presented by Toyo Tires will begin at 1:10 p.m. (EDT) on Thursday. The Round 10 race is set for 10:20 a.m. on Friday. Live timing and lap notes are available at www.world-challenge.com.

-credit: scca pro racing

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Series PWC
Drivers Michael Galati , Peter Cunningham , Charles Espenlaub , James Clay , Kuno Wittmer , Chip Herr , Seth Thomas , Jim Daniels , Jason Saini
Teams RealTime Racing