MX-5: Series Road Atlanta practice two notes

Rhoades Tops Miller for Fastest MX-5 Cup Practice Time at Road Atlanta BRASELTON, Ga. (April 30, 2009) -- Chris Rhoades, of Dallas, Texas, edged out teammate Marc Miller, of Holland, Mich, for the fastest practice time of the day by 0.18-second,...

Rhoades Tops Miller for Fastest MX-5 Cup Practice Time at Road Atlanta

BRASELTON, Ga. (April 30, 2009) -- Chris Rhoades, of Dallas, Texas, edged out teammate Marc Miller, of Holland, Mich, for the fastest practice time of the day by 0.18-second, in preparation for Round One of the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup, part of the Classic Motorsports Magazine Walter Mitty Challenge at Road Atlanta. Ara Malkhassian, of Sonoma, Calif., completed the top three.

Driving the No. 33 Team MER/Zebra Air MX-5, Rhoades clocked a 1:41.300 (90.266 mph) in the afternoon practice session at the 12-turn, 2.54-mile road course. The time was a mere 0.18-second faster than teammate Marc Miller's time of 1:41.318 (90.250 mph) set in the morning session, giving Rhoades the fastest time of the day.

Now in his sophomore season of MX-5 Cup, the 18-year-old spent some time SCCA Club Racing in the off season to improve his game.

"In the off-season I was racing in Spec Miata and learned a lot from that," Rhoades said. "MX-5 Cup is really fun to compete in. You can't beat the close racing. I've got a great team with Team MER. They do a great job preparing the car and I couldn't be happier."

Though he missed the 2008 MX-5 Cup race at Road Atlanta, Rhoades is no stranger to the track and is enjoying the opportunity to race at the famed southern gem.

"I was here in 2007 for a Skip Barber racing school. I love the track. It's got some really challenging corners, but it's fun and always exciting."

Winner of the 2007 race at Road Atlanta, Ara Malkhassian was second fastest in the afternoon session. Driving the No. 11 ALARA Racing MX-5, Malkhassian improved on his morning time and entered a 1:41.359 (90.214 mph) late in the afternoon session.

Miller was unable to improve upon his morning time, ending the second practice session in third with a 1:41.685 (89.924 mph) in the No. 28 Team MER/MOCA/RaceForAutism MX-5.

Mark Jenkins, of Fairview, Texas, was fourth-fastest, turning a 1:41.865 (89.765 mph) in the No. 25 Team MER/JBR/Traxxas/BFG/Simpson MX-5.

Zach Ply, of Joliet, Ill., followed on the time sheets. The driver of the No. 27 Team MER/Insight Beverage Co. MX-5 entered a 1:42.010 (89.638 mph).

Miller's morning time kept him second behind Rhoades on the combined practice times, followed by Malkhassian and Jenkins.

On the strength of his morning session time, a 1:41.916 (89.721 mph), Brett Smrz of Couer D'Alene, Idaho, ended the day fifth in the No. 6 Smrz Racing/In Touch Physical Therapy MX-5.

Ply, Harrison Williams, Nick Mancuso, Lyonel Kent and Rick Maki completed the top 10 fastest practice times of the day.

Qualifying for Round One of the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup is set for 12:30 p.m. (EDT), Saturday, May 1. Live timing and lap notes are available all weekend at www.mx-5cup.com.

-credit: scca pro racing

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Series SCCA
Drivers Skip Barber , Rick Maki , Ara Malkhassian , Nick Mancuso , Brett Smrz , Lyonel Kent , Marc Miller , Harrison Williams
Teams Williams