Schimsk Takes First MX-5 Cup Win at Road America
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ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Aug. 10, 2008) - Ryan Schimsk, of Austin, Texas, became the fourth driver in as many races to score his debut race win in the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup. Eric Foss, of Fort Worth, Texas, and Todd Buras, of Melbourne, Fla., completed the Round Four podium, part of Road America's Road Race Showcase.

At the drop of the green flag, Schimsk beat polesitter Buras to Turn One and immediately took over the lead in the No. 81 Team MER/Airco Mechanical MX-5. Buras would retake the lead shortly thereafter with drafting help from his teammate Brad Rampelberg. Taking a page from the same playbook, Schimsk hooked up with teammate Foss and the pair moved into the top two spots the following lap.

The drafting game would continue throughout the race as the top six cars began to pull away from the rest of the field. That gap would be erased on lap seven, when the full-course caution came out for the No. 19 Hooverspeed MX-5 of Robert Michaelian, who was stuck in the gravel trap at Turn 12.

When green flag racing resumed on lap 10, Schimsk came under attack from the No. 14 Hooverspeed/Mazda/Patron Tequila MX-5 of Rampelberg. Schimsk was able to hold off Rampelberg's charge through Turn One, but the pair lost enough momentum to let Elivan Goulart in the No. 70 GRE/Velocity-Club/Red Line Oil MX-5 by and into the lead in Turn Three. Goulart's lead was brief - Schimsk took it right back in Turn Five.

While he would endure further pressure from Goulart and more still from Rampelberg and teammate Foss, the young Texan could not be caught.

I was pretty impressed with the race pace, Schimsk said. Anytime I thought that we were breaking away from the pack, they'd be right there on the next straight. The draft here is so important. You see cars five or six car lengths back and they'd be in passing position by the next corner. Overall, it was a really fun race. This place is easily one of my top three favorite tracks in the country to race at.

When the No. 16 Alara Racing/Select Painting MX-5 of Christian Franck, from Simi Valley, Calif., made heavy impact with the tire wall in Canada Corner on lap 13 of the 14-lap, 56.672-mile race, the full-course yellow came out once again. Schimsk's lead and first-career win were sealed as the race ended under yellow.

I can't think Team MER enough, Schimsk said. They give me everything I need to run up front. They do so much work. They're here early, they stay late. We go over data after every session on the track. They have a solid game plan everywhere we go and I hope we continue to do well at the remaining races.
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