TOOELE, Utah (Sept. 12, 2010) - 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.
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."
The show came to an anti-climactic end with two laps to go when the No. 28 Team MER/Mazda/Sparco MX-5 of Evans began to fall off the pace, suffering from ABS failure. This left the door wide open for Kent to claim his third-career MX-5 Cup win by 6.965-second, averaging 81.002 mph. It's the second year in-a-row Kent has closed the MX-5 Cup season with a win.
"I really have to thank Nick for racing clean with me," Kent said. "He did a good job and I'm sorry to see what happened to him at the end.
"It's really been a rollercoaster of a season, but this is the way we like to finish them off. We like to win!"
An equally exhilarating battle for third, fourth and fifth took place behind the leaders. Starting third, Championship contender Piscitell was shuffled back to sixth on the opening lap, well behind point leader Rampelberg who was up to third place by lap two. Rampelberg soon had his hands full with Combs in the No. 77 ALARA Racing/Coolgas.com MX-5, giving Piscitell the time to work his way back up to fifth behind the two.
Piscitell finally passed Rampelberg for fourth on lap 10 and set his sights on Combs. As Combs and Piscitell proceeded to go back-and-forth for the third spot, Rampelberg took several looks of his own, not content with a safe race, even with the Championship on the line.