In 2008, Playboy became the title sponsor for the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup series.
The MX-5 Cup boasted a thirty-percent growth in 2007 and was projected to become the number one spec professional series in the world.
The series is part of the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Ladder that promotes champions of Mazda series to the next level of their career. The motivation for drivers to enter the MX-5 Cup division is an opportunity to earn a factory-supported ride in next year’s SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Touring Car Championship, which is valued at $250,000.
All Mazda MX-5 Cup cars receive only minor upgrades. Bolt-on modifications include a new intake manifold and exhaust system which increases the engine output from 170 to 200-horsepower. All the vehicles are equipped with a six-speed manual transmission and a limited-slip differential.
The suspension uses a coil-over kit with double adjustable shock absorbers and roll bars. Khumo tires are mounted on 17X8” wheels. Brake pads, fluid and lines are upgraded for the demands of racing.
For safety, the Mazdas are fitted with an eight-point roll-cage welded into the car, racing seatbelts and a fire extinguishing system.
The season consists of eight 45-minute timed races. The first event of 2008 will be held in May at Road Atlanta. Three weeks later, teams travel to Canada for round two. There is a break until July and then contests are conducted at Portland and Road America. Following these two races, the series returns to Canada to compete on the streets of Trois-Rivieres. In September, there are race weekends at Miller Motorsports Park and Thunderbolt Raceway. The finale is held in mid-October at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Round six of the 2008 SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup was held at Miller Motorsports Park. Drivers would compete on the twenty-three turn 4.486-mile road course for forty-five minutes.
|Twenty-two drivers enter Miller Motorsports Park's final turn, Release, for round six of the 2008 SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup. Pacing the field is the pole-sitter, Brad Rampelberg, in the No. 14 Hooverspeed-prepared Mazda MX-5. Sharing the front row with Rampelberg is the No. 27 Team MER / Huffmaster Co. driven by Rob Huffmaster. Behind the fastest qualifiers are Eric Foss and Ryan Schimsk.|
|Brad Rampelberg gave notice early that he would be the driver to beat at Miller Motorsports Park. He topped the timesheets in both practice sessions and did the same in qualifying with the help of his teammate Todd Buras. A poor start saw Rampelberg drop to seventh place on the opening lap. His charge to the front began. Rampelberg disposed of the competition. With the win, he moved to second in the standings.|
|Starting on the outside of the front row was the winner of round two, Rob Huffmaster. Huffmaster drove the No. 27 Team MER Mazda MX-5. Taking advantage of Rampelberg's poor start, he moved into the lead. However, he would lose positions to his teammate, Ryan Schimsk and Ara Malkhassian. On the final lap, there was contact between Schimsk and Malkhassian, allowing Huffmaster to finish second.|
|Miller Motorsports Park would be an opportunity for Ara Malkhassian to redeem himself. At last year's event, the driver of the No. 11 Alara Racing Mazda MX-5 was disqualified for aggressive driving. Malkhassian qualified seventh fastest. He also benefitted from Rampelberg's error and eventually moved into second place. However, Ryan Schimsk caught him on the final lap and hit Malkhassian, causing him to finish third.|
|The points leader heading into round six was Eric Fross. Consistently finishing races and being the only driver to win two events put him at the top of the standings. After qualifying, Foss was gridded third in the No. 28 Team MER / Autobarn Mazda MX-5. Foss was in fifth place on the final lap, but a penalty issued to Ryan Schimsk for contact with Ara Malkhassian elevated him to a fourth-place result.|
|Mike Jenkins was part of a two-car team that included his brother Mark. Mike qualified ninth fastest at Miller Motorsports Park, driving the No. 47 Jenkins Brothers / Traxxas Mazda MX-5. He passed his brother, Todd Buras and Brad McAllister, during the race. Jenkins was also a beneficiary of the penalty issued to Ryan Schimsk for contact with Ara Malkhassian. He was classified with a fifth-place finish – his season's best result.|
|1||1||Brad Rampelberg||Hooverspeed - Mazda MX-5||13||-|
|2||2||Rob Huffmaster||Team MER / Huffmaster Co - Mazda MX-5||13||-|
|3||7||Ara Malkhassian||Alara Racing - Mazda MX-5||13||-|
|4||3||Eric Foss||Team MER / Autobarn Mazda - Mazda MX-5||13||-|
|5||9||Mike Jenkins||Jenkins Brothers / Traxxas - Mazda MX-5||13||-|
|6||8||Mark Jenkins||Jenkins Brothers / Traxxas - Mazda MX-5||13||-|
|7||14||Alison Malkhassian||Alara Racing - Mazda MX-5||13||-|
|8||16||Tim Buck||Mazda / Hooverspeed - Mazda MX-5||13||-|
|9||4||Ryan Schimsk||Team MER / Airco Mechanical - Mazda MX-5||13||-|
|10||15||Harrison Williams||Alara Racing - Mazda MX-5||13||-|
|11||11||Robert Michaelian||Hooverspeed - Mazda MX-5||13||-|
|12||20||Brad Adams||Team MER - Mazda MX-5||13||-|
|13||10||Deborah Loth||Team MER / Loth Endodontics - Mazda MX-5||13||-|
|14||19||Steve Bottom||Steve Bottom Racing - Mazda MX-5||13||-|
|15||17||James Rhoades||Team MER / Zebra Air - Mazda MX-5||13||-|
|16||13||Tim Probert||Alara Racing - Mazda MX-5||13||-|
|17||22||Kenny Kun Yin||KMC - Mazda MX-5||13||-|
|18||5||Todd Buras||Hooverspeed / Pancreaticcure.org - Mazda MX-5||13||-|
|19||18||Christopher Rhoades||Team MER / Zebra Air - Mazda MX-5||6||Did Not Finish|
|20||21||Laura Olson||Hooverspeed - Mazda MX-5||6||Did Not Finish|
|21||6||Brad McAllister||ACE Surgical - Mazda MX-5||0||Did Not Finish|
|22||12||Scott Tucker||Victory Lane Data - Mazda MX-5||13||Disqualified|
|All content (photographs and text) appearing on this website are the exclusive property of © www.zoompics.com and are protected under International copyright laws. The subject matter on this website may not be reproduced, copied, stored or manipulated.|