Miata Atlantic: Road Atlanta preview

MIATA CUP ATLANTIC TOUR BEGINS FRIDAY AT ROAD ATLANTA BRASELTON, Ga. (May 5, 2005) -- SCCA Pro Racing's Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Presented by Hankook Atlantic Tour is set for its season-opening doubleheader this weekend at Road Atlanta, part of...

MIATA CUP ATLANTIC TOUR BEGINS FRIDAY AT ROAD ATLANTA

BRASELTON, Ga. (May 5, 2005) -- SCCA Pro Racing's Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Presented by Hankook Atlantic Tour is set for its season-opening doubleheader this weekend at Road Atlanta, part of the Drift Atlanta event May 6-7.

Although the Pacifc Tour is already underway following last weekend's event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, this will be the opening round for the 2005 Championship for many. However, a number of easterners got a jump on the season, traveling and finding success at Laguna.

Even though races out of the Atlantic Tour don't help in the points championship, drivers like Jim Daniels (Germantown, Tenn.) and Todd Buras (Atlanta, Ga.) had a great opportunity to remove any rust from the off-season by running up front at Laguna. Each driver scored a pole position in the doubleheader weekend driving Miatas out of the BSI Racing stable, and Daniels took the Round Two win.

Daniels' strong start may mean trouble for the other 29 drivers entered for this weekend's competition, as he is also the American Road Race of Champions (ARRC) Club Racing Spec Miata winner from November 2004, a pseudo Club Racing Championship event held at Road Atlanta.

Defending Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Presented by Hankook Atlantic Tour Champion Payton Wilson, of Gainesvilla, Va., will have everyone's attention this week as well--not just because of the No. 1 on the side of his King RAT Motorsports/OG Racing entry, but because it's a newly-classified 1999 model Miata. For the first time in series history, second generation (1999-) Mazda Miatas are eligible to run, but it comes at a heavy price. While the car may share the same unibody as the first-generation car, the more powerful 1999 model carries a smaller air restrictor and more weight.

Other top returning drivers from 2004 include series runner-up Shawn Dewey, of Townsend, Del., in his DAB/dewspeed.com Miata 1.6 and third-place Tom Long, of Raleigh, N.C., in his G3 Systems/Carbotech Miata 1.6. Dewey is still seeking his first series win, while Long was victorious at Lime Rock Park in 2004.

A familiar name to SCCA, Road Atlanta and Championship racing returns this weekend, as Duluth, Georgia's Mark and Matthew Pombo, sons of former SCCA Club Racing and Pro Racing Champion Pepe Pombo, make their professional SCCA racing debuts in the No. 0 and No. 01 Pombo Racing/Security 1/OPM Autosports sponsored entries.

Rounds One and Two of the 2005 Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Presented by Hankook Atlantic Tour are set for Friday (2:00 p.m., EDT) and Saturday (1:30 p.m., EDT). For race reports and results, please visit the event home page at www.scca.com/Event/Event.asp?Ref=05miata-rat.

-scca pro racing-

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Series SCCA
Drivers Tom Long , Payton Wilson , Todd Buras , Jim Daniels