Long Awarded First-Ever Miata Cup Win After Pilla Disqualification LAKEVILLE, Conn. (May 31, 2004) -- Tom Long, of Raleigh, N.C., was awarded his first-career Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Presented by Hankook Atlantic Tour win for Saturday's Round Five...
Long Awarded First-Ever Miata Cup Win After Pilla Disqualification
LAKEVILLE, Conn. (May 31, 2004) -- Tom Long, of Raleigh, N.C., was awarded his first-career Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Presented by Hankook Atlantic Tour win for Saturday's Round Five event after a Court of Appeals upheld the disqualification of on-track winner Ryan Pilla from qualifying. Shawn Dewey, of Townsend, Del., and James Evans, of Parktown, Md., finished second and third.
Pilla qualified his No. 10 Card Doctor World Miata third on the grid, but post-qualifying inspection revealed a non-compliant camshaft in the car, as well as that of second place qualifier Chip Herr, of Lititz, Pa. The two appealed the decision, but the appeal was not heard until Sunday morning, due to time constraints. With the appeal, the two qualifying positions were reinstated, setting up a wild race.
Fourth starting Payton Wilson, of Gainesville, Ga., took the point early, but soon under attack from polesitter Long in the No. 16 G3 Systems/Carbotech entry and the entries of Pilla and Herr. The four waged a battle for the duration of the 27-lap event, with Long leading the most laps, but finishing second on the track. With the disqualification, Long won his first-career race with a 1.310-second margin of victory.
"We were leading for a few laps until Ryan got a good run on me about two-thirds of the way through the race," Long said after the race. "Chip [Herr] snuck by on the same lap; it was good pass on me. After I got back by Chip, I had a couple of runs on Ryan during the last couple of laps. But, I just couldn't get back around him."
Starting eighth in the No. 8 indirect.com/DAB Services Mazda Miata, Dewey knifed his way through traffic and had to bide his time as the race leaders traded positions at the front of the pack. Dewey was riding in fourth coming out of last turn on the last lap when he got a run on Herr, who was in third at the time, and drove by him for his first podium finish of 2004.
"It was a really tough battle out there today," Dewey said. "About five laps from the end I started catching back up to the lead pack and started closing the distance. I think everybody's tires started going away at the same time. You could see everybody's back ends really wiggling around out there. I started picking my spots and making up distance where I could. I saw Chip was really getting loose in front of me. I called on the radio wanting to know the number of laps left and figured out where I needed to make a move."
Piloting the No. 5 JEImportPerformance.com machine, James Evans, of Parktown, Md., finished fourth on course and third after the final results came out. Vincent Ocuto, of Rome, N.Y., and Stephen Smith, of New York, N.Y., completed the top five.
After being shuffled back in the field after contact with Pilla, Wilson later came in contact with the car of Herb Sweeney III and spun off the course, ending his day in the mud and 25th place. Despite that finish, Wilson retained the point lead, with 116 points, followed by Dewey (114), Niki Coello and Long (both 105) and Pilla (90).
Qualifying for Round Six of the Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Presented by Hankook Tires Atlantic Tour at Lime Rock Park is set for 9:35 a.m. (EDT) Monday, May 31, with the Round Six race getting underway later that day at 3:25 p.m. The race will air live on HDNet, with coverage beginning at 3:00 p.m.
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