MX-5: Series Birmingham practice two notes

Miller Fastest in MX-5 Cup Practice at Barber Motorsports Park BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (July 17, 2009) -- Marc Miller, of Holland, Mich., was the fastest driver in SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup Round Five practice at Barber Motorsports Park,...

Miller Fastest in MX-5 Cup Practice at Barber Motorsports Park

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (July 17, 2009) -- Marc Miller, of Holland, Mich., was the fastest driver in SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup Round Five practice at Barber Motorsports Park, part of the Porsche 250 Presented by Legacy Credit Union weekend. Todd Lamb, of Atlanta, Ga., and Justin Piscitell, of Patterson, N.Y., completed the top three.

After ending the first practice session of the day in second, Miller found more than 1.3 seconds in session two, to set the fastest lap of the day at a track he'd only previously seen in a shifter kart.

"It's definitely a rhythm track," Miller said. "It's extremely smooth and there are a lot of tricks here and, admittedly, it's taken awhile to get adjusted. The rain on the promoter test day did not help [Team MER] drivers' confidence, especially those that haven't been here, but with us this weekend is last year's Champion, Eric Foss, and he's had a lot of laps around here and he's put a lot of insight in. All of our team drivers share data and we're each doing good things on different parts of the track. Once we put all of that together and put a sticker set on, go out and really try to hustle the car around, we're rewarded with a good lap time."

Miller's lap of 1:43.310 (82.934 mph) in the No. 28 Team MER/MOCA/Race Now for Autism/Sparco MX-5 was the only one to break the 1:43-mark around the 17-turn, 2.38-mile track.

"I think at this point we're looking for a car that's going to run a consistent race and not fall off," Miller said. "Pole is going to be whatever pole is, but my approach is to make sure we have a car that's going to be good at the beginning, end and the middle, and try to stay in the lead pack at all times. Right now I feel like we have a car we can run consistent times with, given the track and the changing conditions. I feel pretty confident."

After finishing runner-up to Lamb in the previous three rounds, Miller is hopeful of a return to the top step on the podium this weekend.

"Todd's pretty fast," Miller said. "Obviously, he's been the class of the field in qualifying the last couple of races, but I think we're closer now than we have been. I think a lot of our cars are on par with him now. It's about timing; taking the right stab at the lap at the right time, and checking every detail before we go out. I hope we can score my first pole. I don't qualify particularly well. I'm more of a racer than a qualifier, so if I'm on pole I'm going to be very confident going into the race."

In the No. 84 AMG Racing/Traqmate/Luna-C Racing MX-5, Lamb found himself an unfamiliar second on the timing sheets. The top qualifier and winner of the last three MX-5 Cup rounds entered a 1:44.030 (82.360 mph).

Driving the No. 89 ALARA Racing/DAMG Racing/Mazdaspeed MX-5, Piscitell was third with a 1:44.632 (81.887 mph).

Nick Mancuso, of Mettawa, Ill., ended the second session fourth, with a lap of 1:44.773 (81.776 mph) in the No. 29 Team MER/LakeForestSportsCars/Tire Lyna MX-5. He was followed by Robert Michaelian, of Seal Beach, Calif., who turned a 1:44.928 (81.656 mph) in the No. 19 AMG/Biz Rate MX-5. Michaelian, however, did turn a faster lap in the morning session, a 1:44.757 (81.780 mph), which bumped him ahead of Mancuso for the day's fastest times.

Ara Malkhassian, Zach Ply, Stan Wilson, Max Riddle and Jeff Mosing completed the top 10 on the day.

Qualifying for Round Five of the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup will take place Saturday, July 18, at 10:30 a.m. (CDT). Live timing, lap notes and results are available at www.mx-5cup.com.

-credit: scca pro racing

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About this article
Series SCCA
Drivers Stan Wilson , Ara Malkhassian , Todd Lamb , Nick Mancuso , Eric Foss , Justin Piscitell , Jeff Mosing , Marc Miller , Max Riddle