SCOTT SHELTON WINS MAZDA SHOOTOUT

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SCOTT SHELTON WINS MAZDA SHOOTOUT

Scott Shelton proved that persistence and practice makes perfect. Shelton will follow in the footsteps of Andrew Caddell, Brad Rampelberg, Justin Piscitell, and Nick Evans, the four previous Mazda shootout winners. He also joins the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Driver ladder program class of 2011. The MAZDASPEED ladder has been a critical part of the success of up-and-coming racers including Raphael Matos, John Edwards, Conor Daly, Joel Miller, Connor De Phillippi, Dane Cameron, Jason Saini, Todd Lamb, Eric Foss, Adam Christodoulou, Sage Karam, Spencer Pigot, and Felix Serralles. Continue reading “SCOTT SHELTON WINS MAZDA SHOOTOUT”

MX-5 Cup Drivers and Teams Cap Season With Awards Banquet

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Salt Lake City, Utah – SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup competitors, staff, family and friends gathered at the Pierpont Place in Salt Lake City to celebrate the season following the doubleheader finale at nearby Miller Motorsports Park.

Mosing, Playboy’s Deanna Brooks, Piscitell, Rampelberg, Playboy’s Pilar Lastra, and Evans (L-R) pose with their banquet hardware.
Rick Benjamin, the television voice of the MX-5 Cup, hosted the celebration on Sunday evening. The guest of honor was Brad Rampelberg, of San Jose, Calif., who claimed the Championship on the strength of five wins in his No. 4 AMG Racing/Mazda/Cobalt Brakes Mazda MX-5. Rampelberg scored 559 championship points, regaining the lead following a win at Mosport International Raceway that had slipped away through the middle of the season. Rampelberg entered the doubleheader finale leading Justin Piscitell, of Weston, Conn., and brought home the crown with a pair of fourth-place finishes.
Continue reading “MX-5 Cup Drivers and Teams Cap Season With Awards Banquet”

Kent Takes Finale MX-5 Cup Race of 2010; Rampelberg Crowned Champion

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TOOELE, Utah – After a hard fought for the majority of the race, Lyonel Kent, of Knoxville, Tenn., was able to storm to his third-career SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup victory. Jesse Combs, of Houston, Texas, and Justin Piscitell, of Weston, Conn., completed the podium at Miller Motorsports Park. Finishing fourth, Brad Rampelberg, of San Jose, Calif., claimed the 2010 SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup Championship.

Lyonel Kent earned an MX-5 Cup win at the season finale.
Starting second in the No. 13 ALARA Racing/Bulldog Productions MX-5, Kent immediately took the lead from polesitter Nick Evans, of Powell, Ohio, going to the inside of Evans in Turn One. The pair continued to exchange the lead in spectacular fashion throughout the 20-lap, 60.96-mile race, but only made contact once.

“Clean doesn’t even begin to describe it,” Kent said. “The only contact that happened was when in Turn One, we were side-by-side and bumped mirrors. So I just reached out, pushed the mirror back and that was it. That was the only contact we had even though we must have swapped the lead at least a dozen times.”

Continue reading “Kent Takes Finale MX-5 Cup Race of 2010; Rampelberg Crowned Champion”

Rampelberg Sweeps MX-5 Cup Weekend at Autobahn

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Brad Rampelberg (4) battled for his Sunday win at Autobahn. (Joi Dunn photo)

JOLIET, Ill. – Brad Rampelberg, of San Jose, Calif., became the first driver this season to win back-to-back SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup races, sweeping the doubleheader at Autobahn Country Club during the Harrah’s Autobahn Grand Prix presented by Mazda. Justin Piscitell, of Weston, Conn., and Michael Cooper, of Syosset, N.Y., finished second and third. Continue reading “Rampelberg Sweeps MX-5 Cup Weekend at Autobahn”

Cooper Earns First Professional Win With MX-5 Cup At New Jersey

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Cooper earned his first professional win at New Jersey Motorsports Park.

MILLVILLE, N.J. – After a second-place finish 24 hours earlier, Michael Cooper, of Syosset, N.Y., earned his first career SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup victory on Sunday afternoon at New Jersey Motorsports Park. Brad Rampelberg, of San Jose, Calif., and Nick Evans, of Powell, Ohio, completed the podium at the Mazda Motorsports Festival presented by VISITFLORIDA.com.

Cooper earned his first professional win at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
After swapping the lead with championship-leader Justin Piscitell numerous times during Saturday’s race, Cooper was all business on his way to a 7.386-second margin of victory at the 2.17-mile, 14-turn South Jersey track on Sunday. Cooper completed the 28-lap, 60.76-mile race in 45:29.105, averaging 80.149 mph.

It was the first professional win of any kind for the 20-year-old racer, whose only prior experience was eight races in the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Challenge for MX-5 Cup cars. Continue reading “Cooper Earns First Professional Win With MX-5 Cup At New Jersey”

Evans To Start on MX-5 Cup Pole For First Standing Start In Series History

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Evans starts on pole for the first-ever MX-5 Cup standing start.

MILLVILLE, N.J. –

Nick Evans, of Powell, Ohio, turned the fastest lap in SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup qualifying Sunday morning for the afternoon’s Round Six race at New Jersey Motorsports Park’s Mazda Motorsports Festival presented by VISITFLORIDA.com. With the fastest qualifying time in the 30-minute session, Evans will start at the front of the grid for the first-ever MX-5 Cup standing start.

Evans starts on pole for the first-ever MX-5 Cup standing start.
The standing start will be used for Sunday afternoon’s MX-5 Cup race, which typically uses a traditional rolling start to take the green flag. The standing start is currently planned for just one race, where it will be evaluated for the possibility of future use. Continue reading “Evans To Start on MX-5 Cup Pole For First Standing Start In Series History”

Piscitell Earns First MX-5 Cup Win, Regains Championship Lead

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MILLVILLE, N.J.

Piscitell earned his first-career win at New Jersey.

Justin Piscitell, of Weston, Conn., had run 14 SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup races in his career dating back to last season, 11 of those a top four or better. On Saturday afternoon at New Jersey Motorsports Park, Piscitell finally stood on the top spot of the podium, earning his first career MX-5 Cup win at the Mazda Motorsports Festival presented by VISITFLORIDA.com and reclaiming the championship lead. Michael Cooper, of Syossett, N.Y., and Lyonel Kent, of Knoxville, Tenn., completed the podium.

Though Piscitell’s final margin of victory was 3.175 seconds in the 27-lap, 58.59-mile race that averaged 75.860 mph, the 21-year-old driver’s first win was anything but easy in the No. 89 Team MER/DAMG Worldwide Mazda MX-5.

Continue reading “Piscitell Earns First MX-5 Cup Win, Regains Championship Lead”

Combs Take First MX-5 Cup Pole At New Jersey

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Jesse Combs earned his first MX-5 Cup pole at New Jersey.

Jesse Combs, of Houston, Texas, had never seen New Jersey Motorsports Park before he arrived on Thursday for the Mazda Motorsports Festival presented by VISITFLORIDA.com. After this morning’s qualifying session, he’ll start Saturday afternoon’s SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup race from pole position.

Combs turned a lap of 1:34.470 (82.693 mph) on his second flying lap of the 30-minute morning session, and watched the time charts as the field tried to best the lap. At the finish of the session, Combs’ No. 77 ALARA Racing/Coolgas.com Mazda MX-5 was still atop the session, just 0.060-second ahead of Brad Rampelberg.

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Cooper Quickest Overall In Friday MX-5 Cup Practice at New Jersey

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Cooper was quickest during Friday practice.

MILLVILLE, N.J. -Michael Cooper, of Syosset, N.Y., was the quickest in the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup practice Friday morning at New Jersey Motorsports Park. At the end of a hot afternoon practice session for the Mazda Motorsports Festival presented by VISITFLORIDA.com, none of the fastest times had been improved, leaving Cooper atop the combined practice charts.

With less grip on the track as the temperatures soared into the upper 80’s and the humidity continued through the day, only one of 20 drivers (Richard Picut, of Garwood, N.J.) improved their times in the afternoon session.

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Rampelberg Recovers For Win at Road America

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Rampelberg leads the field at Road America (Shaun Lumley photo)

ELKHART LAKE, Wis.

Despite an unscheduled pit stop that moved him as low as 11th place under caution, Brad Rampelberg, of San Jose, Calif., charged through the field to take the checkered flag during the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup race at Road America, part of the Bucyrus 200 presented by Menard’s weekend. Ara Malkhassian, of Houston, Texas, and Nick Evans, of Powell, Ohio, finished second and third, respectively.

Rampelberg started the race from the pole in the No. 4 AMG/Mazda/Cobalt Brakes Mazda MX-5 and ended with a 1.457-second margin of victory at the end of the 15-lap, 60.72-mile race, but ran an eventful race between the flags. Continue reading “Rampelberg Recovers For Win at Road America”