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Hall Tops In Opening MX-5 Cup Practice At Road Atlanta

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BRASELTON, April 28, 2011: On the final lap of this morning's opening SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup practice session at Road Atlanta, Justin Hall, of Davis, Calif., posted the fastest time of the 20-minute session.

Hall's best time was a 1:41.467 in the No. 4 Atlanta Motorsports Group MX-5. The 2005 Miata Cup champion finished fourth in the 2011 season opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway last month and credited a recent test session for his quick early pace.

“Things are going great,” said Hall. “Today started about a month ago, actually. We came out and did an open test ahead of the SCCA double national and we found a good setup then. Today was just all about easing into the session, letting the tires come and letting the car come to me.

“On what I felt like was going to be about the last lap or the second to the last lap, I decided to go ahead and throw one down. I carried a little bit more speed through Turn 1 than I had been doing and it was nice to find that on the predictive lap timer, it actually was about a half a second faster, believe it or not. We just went ahead and carried it the entire rest of the way through the track, so that was nice to see.”

Championship leader Mike Cooper, of Syosset, N.Y., wound up second quickest with a best lap at 1:41.620 in the No. 6 MX-5. Cooper, who like Hall is driving for AMG Racing, opened the 2011 season with his second career MX-5 Cup victory at Homestead.

Kevin Kopp, of Great Falls, Va., was third in opening practice with a lap at 1:41.721 in the No. 22 Piper Motorsports/Brimtek Motorsports MX-5. Kopp was one spot ahead of Dean Copeland, of Bowie, Md. in the No. 7 Sync Speed Inc. MX-5. Copeland's best time was a 1:41.940. Ara Malkhassian, of Houston, Texas, completed the top five with a lap at 1:42.231 in the No. 11 ALARA Racing MX-5. The top five drivers were separated by less than one second.

The SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup practices again Thursday afternoon at 1:25 p.m. (EDT). To follow each session's notes and timing, please visit

Follow the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup on Twitter @ MazdaMX5Cup.