RACE: Pro Miata Challenge Mid America race report

Daniels dominates Pro Miata Challenge debut at Mid America. PACIFIC JUNCTION, Iowa (July 14, 2002) - Jim Daniels, of Germantown, Tenn., grabbed the lead at turn one and pulled away from the field to win the debut SCCA Pro Racing Pro Miata ...

Daniels dominates Pro Miata Challenge debut at Mid America.

PACIFIC JUNCTION, Iowa (July 14, 2002) - Jim Daniels, of Germantown, Tenn., grabbed the lead at turn one and pulled away from the field to win the debut SCCA Pro Racing Pro Miata Challenge event at Mid America Motorplex. Tony Rivera, of Littleton, Colo., and Steve Ott, of Henderson, Colo., completed the top three.

From his second-starting position, Daniels was able to move past pole-sitter Rivera entering turn one on the opening lap. From turn two on, the real battle was between Rivera and Ott for second place, with Rivera finishing a car length ahead of Ott at the flag. Daniels was able to pull away from the field in his No. 08 RCPMotorsports.com Miata, and take the victory by a 12.870-second margin, averaging 73.626 mph.

"The credit for this win really goes to my crew," said Daniels. "We had been running a different tire in practice and decided to switch back to Kumho Tires right before the race. My setup wasn't working well on the other tires so decided to make the switch. The Kumho Tires I used had already run in two other races, so all my thanks go to Kumho."

After opening up a lead of almost eight seconds, Daniels encountered his only real problem of the day, colliding with the lapped car of Kevin Ellis, of Henderson, Colo., coming into turn five. Daniels was able continue but Ellis would end his day parked off of turn eight.

"He turned in like he didn't see me," said Daniels. "We had tire to tire contact but there wasn't any real damage done to the car."

Running in the No. 75 TR Rotorsports.com Miata, Rivera led the field to the green but was running second by the time the field came through turn one. The remainder of the race was Rivera and teammate Ott, running nose-to-tail, trying to use the draft to catch Daniels.

"We definitely ran hard out there, but we just didn't have anything for Jim [Daniels]," said Rivera. "It was nice to run side-by-side with Steve [Ott] during the middle of the race. We were battling each other hard for second, and I was probably holding him up at the end, as I was losing grip."

Qualifying third for the event, Ott ran behind Rivera for most of the race. With one lap remaining, Ott was able to move his No. 74 TR Rotorsports.com Miata past Rivera as they entered turn five. The two cars ran side-by-side through the next set of turns with Rivera finally able to retake the position, and held it as they headed for the checkered flag.

"I didn't have the speed to draft by Tony [Rivera] today," said Ott. "We were running together trying to catch the leader but I wasn't able to pull out and make the pass for second."

Bob Boileau, of Franktown, Colo., and William Pemberton, of Blair, Neb., completed the top five.

-scca pro racing-

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Series SCCA
Drivers Tony Rivera , Jim Daniels , Steve Ott