Skeer Leads Long Playboy MX-5 Cup Practice on Thursday at Road America
Jun. 21, 2012 - ELKHART LAKE, Wis. - Elliott Skeer, of Vista, Calif., led CJ Wilson Racing teammate Stevan McAleer by the narrowest of margins on Thursday morning in a marathon SCCA Pro Racing Playboy MX-5 Cup practice session at Road America.
|Elliott Skeer led the opening practice on Thursday (Morrissey photo)
Skeer turned a lap of 2:39.636 (91.287 mph) in the No. 17 MAZDASPEED/Sparco MX-5, grabbing a tow in the draft from his teammate’s No. 28 CJ Wilson Children’s Charities/Blue Mercury Capital MX-5 lap of 2:39.648 (91.280 mph) to lead the session by 0.012-second.
The pair turned their lap times at the end of a one-hour, 50-minute practice session at the 4-mile track in preparation for Saturday’s Round Six race.
The long sessions were much different than the typical short practice sessions that the series has during most race weekends.
“We almost have to break it up like it’s a couple of 30-minute sessions - so it’s almost like doing the regular type of sessions, just with no breaks in between them,” Skeer said. “We were coming in, debriefing, analyzing, and making changes, and almost taking it as if it was the regular sessions. You can get a little more creative with how long you want to be on track, because you have the flexibility to go out when you want.
“Before the last run, Stevan and I were just sitting out, getting a drink of water. We just waited until the end to see if we could throw down a lap. It’s almost like an old F1 qualifying session, where it’s find a plan that works and go for it.”
Some drivers turned their fast laps on fresh BFGoodrich Tires early in the session, but the CJ Wilson team took a different approach.
“It was part plan, part just worked out that way,” Skeer said. “Early in the morning it was a lot cooler, there was a lot more power – you could definitely feel it. The track wasn’t quite what we thought it was going to be, so we spent the session making two or three changes each. By all of those adding together at the end, we both had really good cars and were able to throw down some laps.”
Third in the session was Nathan Sparks’ No. 3 OOTSK Performance MX-5, which lapped the circuit in 2:39.802 (91.192 mph). Sparks’ single-car effort was just 0.166 from the lead, matching the pace of the CJ Wilson Racing machines.
Jeff Mosing was the highest placing ALARA Racing machine in the session with a time of 2:40.091 (91.028 mph). The driver of the No. 12 Frank’s International/Race Now For Autism MX-5 ran in the lead pack a season ago during the race at Road America.
John Dean turned his fastest lap of the session very early, posting a 2:40.132 (91.005 mph) in the No. 16 Projections Research/Sick Sideways MX-5 on his fifth lap of the session and led for well over an hour into the session, but didn’t improve his time and finished in the fifth spot – but only 0.496-second behind Skeer.
Bryan Hixon was the quickest of the Skip Barber Racing School MAZDASPEED Pro Series class, with a time of 2:42.886 (89.466 mph) in the No. 63 Seven Devils Lodge/Tequila Me MX-5.
The SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup weekend continues on Friday morning with practice at 8 a.m. (CDT), followed by qualifying at 3 p.m. The field will make a standing start for Round Six at 7:25 a.m. (CDT) on Saturday morning.
More information on the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy MX-5 Cup is available at www.mx-5cup.com.
Follow the MX-5 Cup on Twitter @MazdaMX5Cup.