Second MX-5 Cup Pole of the Weekend for Evans at Miller Motorsports Park
TOOELE, Sept. 12, 2010: Nick Evans continued his dominating performance at Miller Motorsports Park, taking his second SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup pole position of the weekend. Lyonel Kent, of Knoxville, Tenn., will start second for today’s season-ending race.
After winning Saturday’s race from the pole, Evans will start from the top spot once again in his No. 28 Team MER/Mazda/Sparco MX-5 for today’s season finale. Evans’ lap of 2:12.394 (82.879 mph) was slightly slower than his Round 10 qualifying time of 2:12.174 (83.017 mph), which he attributed to a decrease in grip around the 15-turn, 3.048-mile course.
“The track’s a lot different,” Evans said. “Mainly, there’s these pylons on the inside of the curbing, but they’re all gone now. I think the NASCAR guys hit them. The grip level has definitely changed and there are certain areas with gravel. I think it’s maybe a little bit slower.”
Looking to compete a clean sweep of the doubleheader weekend by taking his second career-win this afternoon, Evans attributes his success at Miller Motorsports Park to cohesiveness within Team MER.
“As a team, this weekend, we’re working together better than we ever have before. We’re all starting to fully understand each other in terms of how each other works and how our communication is.
“I’m feeling really good. Obviously the pole is the best place to start any race. Hopefully my teammates can get up there with me and I’m going to hope we do what we did yesterday and run away with it.”
Driving the No. 13 ALARA Racing/Bulldog Productions MX-5, Kent, who finished third in Saturday’s race, will start second in today’s race. Kent entered a qualifying lap of 2:12.722 (82.675 mph).
Still in the Championship hunt, Justin Piscitell, of Weston, Conn., qualified his No. 89 Team MER/DAMG Worldwide/Merchant Service MX-5 in third. Piscitell’s best lap was a 2:12.832 (82.606 mph). Currently second in the point standings, Piscitell has a lot on his mind heading into the season finale.
“I have a lot of things I need to do today,” Pisctell said. “I need to stay ahead of Nick [Evans], because he’s only a couple of points behind me and if I want to win the Championship, I’m going to need a good bit of luck. Brad [Rampelberg] still has, I believe, a 25-point lead over everybody.
“We’re starting in a good spot and Brad is in fifth. I’m starting right behind my teammate, we’re one and three, so I’m just going to follow him and it should be a great race.”
Jesse Combs, of Houston, Texas, qualified fourth in the No. 77 ALARA Racing/Mazda/Coolgas.com MX-5. Combs entered a qualifying lap of 2:12.853 (82.593 mph).
Championship leader Rampelberg will start the season finale from fifth on the grid, turning a 2:12.969 (82.521 mph) in his No. 4 AMG Racing/Mazda/Cobalt Brakes MX-5.
Rampelberg currently leads Piscitell by 20 points in the standings (535 to 515). Series rules allow each driver to drop their lowest points-scoring race for their final tally. With dropped races factored in, Rampelberg’s lead increases to 25 points (507 to 482). MX-5 Cup races award 60 points for a win, plus a point for leading a lap and a point for most laps lead. Rampelberg and Piscitell each scored a point for qualifying in the top five.
“I just need to finish,” Rampelberg said. “Justin [Piscitell] and Nick [Evans] are really fast this weekend. They’ve been fast all year. We don’t seem to have the car this weekend, so we’re just going to keep our nose clean and run up front.
“I’ve done the math and, I think, I need to finish ninth or better.”
If Rampelberg were to finish ninth and Pisctiell managed to win the race and lead the most laps, the Championship would indeed go to Rampelberg by six points (with dropped races factored in).