Miata Cup: Saturday Lime Rock race notes

Pilla Records First Career Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Victory at Lime Rock LAKEVILLE, Conn. (May 29, 2004) -- Ryan Pilla, of Amagansett, N.Y., recorded his first career SCCA Pro Racing Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Presented by Hankook Atlantic Tour win in...

Pilla Records First Career Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Victory at Lime Rock

LAKEVILLE, Conn. (May 29, 2004) -- Ryan Pilla, of Amagansett, N.Y., recorded his first career SCCA Pro Racing Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Presented by Hankook Atlantic Tour win in Round Five at Lime Rock Park, as part of the Road Racing Classic Featuring the Mohegan Sun Grand Prix. Tom Long, of Raleigh, N.C., was second and Shawn Dewey, of Townsend, Del., finished third.

Pilla, who started third on the grid, steadily worked his No. 10 Car Doctor World machine to the front and took the lead on lap 20 only to lose it one lap later. Dropping to second behind then race leader Long, Pilla regained the lead on lap 23 and never looked back, narrowly winning the 27 lap event by 0.200-second at an average speed of 80.516 mph.

"It was a helluva hand full actually," Pilla said of the race. "We started out in third place and the front pack ran away with it a little bit. But, then I was able to gain my composure in some of the corners and I was making up time there. I was a little bit out powered on the straightaways when I lost the draft. But, then half way through the race the car started coming to me. Then I worked slowly up to first place and held my line and drove to the win."

The polesitter Long took over the race lead on lap 10 and held it for 10 laps before losing it to Pilla. Driving the No. 16 G3 Systems/Carbotech Mazda Miata, Long's second place performance was his first trip to the podium in Atlantic Tour competition.

"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. "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.

Herr, who is the defending Atlantic Tour Champion and who started on the outside of row one, was riding in second place with 10 laps to go, when his SPEED Touring Car teammate Pilla shuffled Herr back to third when Pilla passed him and Long in turn five. Still in contention for his second third place finish in as many races, Herr couldn't hold off Dewey and Evans and finished fifth in his No. 24 OG Racing/Warwick Auto Park Mazda Miata.

With the win Pilla takes over the Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Atlantic Tour Championship point lead with 122 points, followed by Payton Wilson (115 points), Dewey (112), Niki Coello (105) and Long (102).

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.

Race stats:

Time of race: 30 minutes, 47.026 seconds.
Average speed: 80.516 mph
Margin of victory: 0.200-second

Lap leaders: Laps 1-8, #38 Payton Wilson; laps 9-19, #16 Tom Long; lap 20, #10 Ryan Pilla; laps 20-22, #16 Tom Long; laps 23-27, #10 Ryan Pilla

Fastest race lap: #70 Chris Puskar, 1:03.278 (87.044 mph)
Fastest qualifier: #16 Tom Long, 1:03.035 (87.380 mph)

-scca pro racing-

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About this article
Series SCCA
Drivers Tom Long , Ryan Pilla , Shawn Dewey , Payton Wilson , Niki Coello , Chris Puskar