Miata: Season opener preview

40+ DRIVERS SET TO BEGIN 2005 MAZDASPEED MIATA CUP SEASON AT LAGUNA MONTEREY, Calif. (April 29, 2005) -- More than 40 drivers are set to put their skills to the test this weekend in the season opening doubleheader of the Mazdaspeed Miata Cup...

40+ DRIVERS SET TO BEGIN 2005 MAZDASPEED MIATA CUP SEASON AT LAGUNA

MONTEREY, Calif. (April 29, 2005) -- More than 40 drivers are set to put their skills to the test this weekend in the season opening doubleheader of the Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Presented by Hankook at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, part of the U.S. Sports Car Invitational.

Headlining the 44 entries are a former series Champion, former Runoffs National Champions and a host of event race winners.

2003 Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Pacific Tour Champion Bobby Carter, of Brentwood, Calif., looks to rebound from a disappointing 2004 season in which he failed to score a win, but had strong finishes of second and third in the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca rounds. Carter will again pilot the No. 11 Valley Collision Center/880 Trailer/Base Line Dyno entry in 2005.

Two former SCCA National Championship Runoffs® winners look to record their first Miata Cup series wins at Laguna--including three-time and defending E Production National Champ Pratt Cole, of Salt Lake City, and fellow former E Production Champion Terry McCarthy, of Mountain View, Calif. Cole finished seventh in the 2004 Miata Cup standings after running a limited schedule in his Western Companies Miata. McCarthy recorded a pair of eighths at Laguna in 2004, and hopes to move up in the FMG/880 Trailer/Rebello Racing Engines entry.

Justin Hall, of Davis, Calif., is the only driver entered to have won a Mazdaspeed Miata Cup race at the manufacturers' home track after winning the back half of the 2004 doubleheader in his Off Camber Racing Miata. He is joined by fellow 2004 racewinner (Phoenix) Brad Rampelberg out of the Off Camber Racing stable.

Two "surprises" appear on the entry list for the weekend as well, with Germantown, Tennessee's Jim Daniels, winner of the inaugural SCCA Pro Racing Miata Cup race in 2002, in one of four BSI Racing entries, and Tom Nastasi, winner of the Grand-Am Cup season opening round at Daytona, piloting a Larry Oka Racing entry in search of additional track time.

Rounds One and Two of the 2005 Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Presented by Hankook Pacific Tour are set for Saturday (10:45 a.m., PDT) and Sunday (2:55 p.m., PDT). For race reports and results, please visit the event home page at www.scca.com/Event/Event.asp?Ref=05miata-lag.

-scca pro racing-

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Series SCCA
Drivers Tom Nastasi , Pratt Cole , Brad Rampelberg , Bobby Carter , Terry McCarthy , Justin Hall , Jim Daniels