Miller Leads First MX-5 Cup Practice at Road Atlanta Braselton, Ga. (April 30, 2009) -- In his series debut, Marc Miller, of Holland, Mich., led the first practice session for Round One of the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup at Road ...
Miller Leads First MX-5 Cup Practice at Road Atlanta
Braselton, Ga. (April 30, 2009) -- In his series debut, Marc Miller, of Holland, Mich., led the first practice session for Round One of the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup at Road Atlanta, part of the Classic Motorsports Magazine Walter Mitty Challenge. Completing the top three were Brett Smrz, of Coeur D'Alene, Idaho, and Harrison Williams, of Houston, Texas.
On a gorgeous day at the 12-turn, 2.54-mile road course just outside of Atlanta, Miller and Smrz exchanged fast laps for most of the 25-minute session, with each driver's fastest time coming on his final tour of the circuit. Driving the No. 28 MOCA/ RaceNowforAutsim/Sparco MX-5, Miller clocked a fast lap of 1:41.318 (90.250 mph).
After two seasons serving as Team MER's lead engineer, Miller was ecstatic to top the time sheets in his first foray as an MX-5 Cup driver.
"It's pretty incredible," Miller said. "We don't set out to win practice, but we try to learn as much as we can. It's a pleasant surprise to know that we're on pace and we'll have some good data for the rest of the team to work with. I'm really proud of the Team MER crew. They worked really hard this winter. I'm honored to have an opportunity, after years of doing the engineering, to be able to get behind the wheel. The team's been more than welcoming and supportive."
Miller's No. 28 MX-5 will carry the Race Now for Autism livery this season, a program with strong personal significance for Miller, whose son Evan is autistic.
"Race Now for Autism is a program that my wife and I started last year," Miller explained. "It's a promotional program that provides a way for amateur and professional athletes to sign up, and any competition they compete in, they can raise awareness and funds for local programs that benefit families that have autistic children. It's something that's near and dear to my heart, as well as Jeff Mosing, who's driving a car that I own. Jeff's got the full Race for Autism livery on his car. He's also a father of a child with autism. I'm pretty happy that we can both support the cause and hopefully we can get some more drivers in the paddock to run the decals later in the year and we can make it a big team effort."
Smrz, who returns to the cockpit of an MX-5 Cup car for the first time since Round Two at Mosport International Raceway in 2008, ended the session in second. Smrz clocked a 1:41.916 (89.721 mph) in the No. 6 SmrzRacing/InTouchPhysicalTherapy MX-5.
Now in his fourth season of MX-5 Cup, Williams completed the top three in his No. 00 ALARA/Albrecht&Assoc/MorganKeegan MX-5. Williams' top time was a 1:42.085 (89.572 mph).
Mark Jenkins, of Fairview, Texas, was fourth in the No. 25 Team MER/JBR/Traxxas/ BFG/Simpson MX-5. Jenkins entered a 1:42.145 (89.519 mph).
Newcomer Zac Ply, from Joliet, Ill., completed the top five in the No. 27 Team MER/Insight Beverage Co. MX-5. Ply's quickest lap of the session was a 1:42.296 (89.387 mph).
MX-5 Cup Shootout winner Justin Piscitell was sixth, followed by 2007 World Challenge Touring Car Rookie of the Year Stan Wilson. Mike Jenkins, Jeff Mosing and Nick Mancuso completed the top 10.
The second MX-5 Cup practice session at Road Atlanta is scheduled for 1:25 p.m. (EDT). Live timing and lap notes are available at www.mx-5cup.com.
-credit: scca pro racing