MX-5: Series Millville practice two notes

Smrz Tops Second MX-5 Cup Practice at New Jersey; Miller Fastest on the Day MILLVILLE, N.J. (June 12, 2009) -- Brett Smrz, of Coeur D'Alene, Idaho, was quickest in the second SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup practice session of the day at...

Smrz Tops Second MX-5 Cup Practice at New Jersey; Miller Fastest on the Day

MILLVILLE, N.J. (June 12, 2009) -- Brett Smrz, of Coeur D'Alene, Idaho, was quickest in the second SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup practice session of the day at New Jersey Motorsports Park. He was followed on the time sheets by Todd Lamb, of Atlanta, Ga., and Zach Ply, of Joliet, Ill. The morning practice time of Marc Miller, from Holland, Mich., remained the fastest lap of the day, however, as the series prepares for Round Three and Four of the Championship, part of the Mazda Formula X weekend.

Like many other drivers in the MX-5 Cup field, Smrz is making his first visit to New Jersey Motorsports Park this weekend. The 18-year old, who races with a prosthetic left leg after sustaining a severe leg break in a 2007 trampoline accident, compared the 12-turn, 2.24-mile road course to the karting tracks he grew up on.

"I've never been to New Jersey Motorsports Park before," Smrz said. "It seems like a pretty cool track. It has a lot of technical corners like a go-kart track, which is what I'm used to."

Smrz will get plenty of track time to improve upon his fast lap of 1:35.351 (84.949 mph) this weekend, as he is pulling double duty, running in both the MX-5 Cup and Skip Barber BFGoodrich National Series.

"Doing double-duty is a little tough because the MX-5 has power steering and the Skip Barber cars don't, so I'm twitching the MX-5 around a little bit out there. It's helping in some ways though, because I'm learning the line more."

Smrz' afternoon time was nearly a half-second improvement on his morning time, which the driver of the No. 6 AMG/InTouchPhysicalTherapy MX-5 credited to his team manager's ability to stay on top of the changing track conditions.

"We didn't make very many changes for that session," Smrz said. "I think the track conditions are what changed. Jason [Hoover] nailed it with the tire pressures and I think we'll be good for tomorrow."

Smrz was followed by teammate Lamb in the No. 84 AMG Racing/Traqmate/Luna-C Racing MX-5 in the afternoon practice order. The Round Two race winner entered a 1:35.356 (84.944 mph).

The No. 27 Team MER/Insight Beverage Co. MX-5 of Ply was third-fastest in the afternoon session with a 1:36.049 (84.332 mph).

The afternoon laps of Smrz, Lamb and Ply could not top the morning practice pace set by Miller, who entered a 1:35.330 (84.968 mph) in the No. 28 Team MER/MOCA/RaceforAutismSparco MX-5, giving him the fastest time of the day. Though his teammate Chris Rhoades, of Dallas, Texas, set an identical morning practice time in the No. 33 Team MER/ZebraAir/Sparco MX-5 several laps later, Miller was given credit as the fastest man of the day for setting the time first.

The MER teammates' morning time bumped Smrz, Lamb and Ply down to third, fourth and fifth, respectively on the day. Justin Piscitell, Nick Mancuso, Mike Jenkins, Lyonel Kent and Ara Malkhassian completed the top 10.

Round Three of the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup gets underway tomorrow at 8:45 a.m. (EDT) with qualifying. The race is scheduled for later the same day at 1:00 p.m. (EDT). Round Four on Sunday follows the same schedule with qualifying at 8:45 a.m. and racing at 1 p.m. Both races will be broadcast live on HDNet at 1 p.m. (EDT).

For more the latest news and results from the MX-5 Cup doubleheader at New Jersey Motorsports Park, visit www.mx-5cup.com.

-credit: scca pro racing

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Series SCCA
Drivers Skip Barber , Ara Malkhassian , Todd Lamb , Nick Mancuso , Brett Smrz , Justin Piscitell , Lyonel Kent , Marc Miller