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Cooper Paces Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup Practice Day at Road Atlanta

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BRASELTON, April 28, 2011: Mike Cooper, of Syosset, N.Y., topped the combined time charts following the second of two SCCA Pro Racing Playboy MX-5 Cup practice sessions on Thursday afternoon in preparation for Round 2 of the nine-race 2011 championship on Saturday afternoon as part of The Mitty at Road Atlanta festivities.

The championship leader posted a best lap at 1:40.732 in the No. 6 MX-5 and was more than six tenths of a second clear of his next closest competitor, his AMG Racing teammate Justin Hall, of Davis, Calif. Cooper opened the season with a victory in the 2011 season opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

"We're dialing in the Racing car," Cooper said. "We worked on a little setup, but we did a little qual run there. We were fastest by a little bit. We've still got a few guys to worry about. We've got to worry about Justin. We've got to worry about some of the other teams, but it's all about putting it together in qualifying tomorrow."

After leading the morning practice session, Hall wound up second in Practice 2 but still posted his best time of the day at 1:41.368 in the No. 4 Atlanta Motorsports Group MX-5. Third quickest on the day was Kevin Kopp, of Great Falls, Va., aboard the No. 22 Piper Motorsports/Brimtek Motorsports MX-5. Kopp's best lap of 1:41.721 came during the morning practice session.

The morning session also proved to be the quickest one for Dean Copeland, of Bowie, Md. in the No. 7 Copeland Motorsports/Sync Speed MX-5. Copeland posted the day's fourth-best time at 1:41.940. Ara Malkhassian, of Houston, Texas, rounded out the top five in the No. 11 ALARA Garage Mx-5. Malkhassian's best lap of 1:42.231 also came from the morning session.

Next up for the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup is a 25-minute qualifying session, which is scheduled to start at 12:55 p.m. (EDT). Saturday's 45-minute race takes the green flag at 1:30 p.m. (EDT). To follow each session's notes and timing, please visit