Rampelberg Recovers for MX-5 Cup Win at Miller Motorsports Park
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Rampelberg Recovers for MX-5 Cup Win at Miller Motorsports Park

TOOELE, Utah (Sept. 20, 2008) - After a poor start dropped him to seventh place, Brad Rampelberg, of San Jose, Calif., made an impressive comeback, to win his second SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup race of the season at Miller Motorsports Park. Robert Huffmaster, of Clarkston, Mich., and Ara Malkhassian, of Sonoma, Calif., completed the podium for the Round Six race, part of the SunRickGourmet.com 1000, presented by The Grand and Little America Hotels.

As the MX-5 Cup field flashed under the green flag, polesitter Rampelberg was under attack on all sides. As his No. 14 Hooverspeed/Mazda Patron Tequila MX-5 dropped back as far as seventh in the highly competitive field, second-place starter Huffmaster blasted into the lead.

I have no idea what happened, Rampelberg said. In my mind I had the concept of what we were going to do: we were going to roll up there in third gear, they were going to throw the green flag and we'd be fine. I don't know what happened. I didn't miss a shift, I didn't do anything.

Huffmaster and teammate Ryan Schimsk quickly pulled away from the field on the opening lap, but a full-course caution to remove the No. 39 Wired Motorsports/ACE Surgical MX-5 of Brad McAllister from Turn Five wiped out the duo's advantage. It was a fortuitous yellow flag for Rampelberg though, who had already climbed to fourth before the yellow came out and now had a chance once again challenge for the win.

On the lap-three restart, Malkhassian immediately made his way around Schimsk and set his sights on the leader, leaving Schimsk to hold off a charging Rampelberg. While initially Schimsk and Rampelberg worked together to keep pace with the leaders, it wasn't long before someone made a move for position.

[Huffmaster and Malkhassian] got out early and Ryan and I were working together and caught back up, recalled Rampelberg. In Five, I gave [Schimsk] the signal that I wanted to lead, so I went underneath him in Turn Five, but he decided that wasn't what he wanted to do and he actually tried to pick up two spots in that turn. Rob got the worst of that.

Contact between Schimsk and Huffmaster made it a two-car race for the win between Rampelberg and then leader Malkhassian.

From there I put my head down and I thought Ara and I worked really well together, Rampelberg said. The temperatures on my car were coming up, so I wanted to lead a little bit. Ara raced me hard and fair. When I got into the lead I just put my foot down and the car felt really good.
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