Miata Cup Heartland Park season finale report

TOPEKA, Kan. (Oct. 19, 2003) -- Nick Coello, of East Troy, Wis., appeared to be out for just a Sunday drive when he won his second Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Presented by Hankook Tires East vs. West race of the weekend at Heartland Park Topeka. After...

TOPEKA, Kan. (Oct. 19, 2003) -- Nick Coello, of East Troy, Wis., appeared to be out for just a Sunday drive when he won his second Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Presented by Hankook Tires East vs. West race of the weekend at Heartland Park Topeka.

After the green flag dropped, Coello, who started third on the grid, grabbed the lead going into turn one on the first lap and then proceeded distance himself from the rest of the field. At one point in the race Coello led by nearly five and a half seconds over second-place. Driving the No. 81 Mazda Miata, Coello cruised to his fifth win of the season and his second win in as many days, winning by 3.888-seconds.

"I was pretty quick all weekend," Coello said describing his two wins this weekend. "I really tried to get out front and run in the clean air so I could pull away. And, it worked."

With a lot of car contact heading into the first turn on lap one, polesitter Chip Herr, of Litiz, Pa., got shuffled back to seventh place as drivers jockeyed for the early lead. Herr, piloting the No. 24 Mazda Miata, needed 10 laps to move up to second-place, as he battled third-place finisher Izzy Sanchez for that spot. In battling Sanchez for second, the gap between Herr and race leader Coello continued to increase. In the late stages of the race, Herr was able narrow the lead, but simply ran out of time.

"I don't know what happened," Herr said describing the race start. "Bobby (Carter) and I got a great momentum start. Bobby picked it up, I picked it up, I thought we were going to roll. Then, he 'break checked' me and I laid back. And, as soon as I laid back they threw the green and I got passed. Then I had to work my way back up. It was a great race; a lot of good, clean, close racing."

Herr, who had nine podium finishes in 11 races this season, won the Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Presented by Hankook Tires Atlantic Tour Drivers' Championship.

"One of the good things about this series is that the competition is very good," Herr added. "A lot of these drivers could drive at the next level. With the help of Hankook, Mazdaspeed and SCCA Pro, it's been a lot of fun this year and I am really honored to be a part of the series."

Izzy Sanchez, of Sunnyvale, Calif., drove his No. 79 California Driving Adventures Mazda Miata to a solid third place performance. Sanchez had two wins and seven podium finishes this season.

Bobby Carter, of Stockton, Calif., who is one of the most consistent drivers on the Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Pacific Tour, started on the outside of row one and was also one of the race leaders who lost a few positions at the start of the race. But, he was able to battle back to finish fourth. Carter, who had two wins and six podium finishes this season, won the Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Presented by Hankook Tires Pacific Tour Drivers' Championship.

"Wining the Pacific Tour title really means a lot because of the guys I am running against," Carter said of winning the Championship. Guys like Izzy Sanchez, who was a National Champion and who is a great driver, Andrew Fernandez, Jon Davies. Those guys made me better because I always had to watch my mirrors because they were always coming. In the Pacific, there was not one dominant person. It was more about being consistent and that's what we were all year; consistent.

Scott Fredericksen, of High Point, N.C., finished fifth.

Tosh Desai, of Marlton, N.J., won the Sunoco Hard Charger award for advancing six positions throughout the race, starting 16th and finishing 10th.

-scca pro racing-

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Series SCCA
Drivers Chip Herr , Bobby Carter