The SBRS MX-5 Races at Road Atlanta

< Back 02/12/2008

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

021208aa
Green flag!

Qualifying and race results here

Complete SBRS MX-5 Cup Race Series schedule is here

Note: We are solving a technical issue that is preventing us from linking to the rest of the Road Atlanta photos. Try back tonight or tomorrow!

We were at Skip Barber’s newest base location, Road Atlanta, for a couple more “spring training” rounds of the MX-5 Cup Series. Ten drivers took the green in each of the two races – including Brett Smrz, winner of a full season of open-wheel Regional competition in the Skip Barber Karting Scholarship Shoot-out at Sebring earlier in the month. We’ll let Kelly Deneen describe the action for you…

SBRS MX-5 Cup Series Race 1; weather sunny and cool

Lap 1… Polesitter Kevin Clayton misses a shift on the start and Brett Smrz takes the lead on the start… Brett leads through turn 7; Kevin tries to make a pass on Brett but doesn’t make it happen…

Lap 2… Near the back, Lorne Liebel passes Pax ‘‘Hollywood’’ Lemmon in turn 1… Clayton takes a look on Smrz but doesn’t make it happen… In turn 7, Chris Topping has a run on Clayton! Oh, doesn’t make it happen… Clayton passes Smrz in turn 10 – perfect pass…

Lap 3… Three car battle at the stripe for the lead!… Liebel passes Fred Chin in turn 1 for P7… Leaders are ‘‘side-by-each’’ in turn 10 and Smrz passes Clayton… now Topping and Clayton two-wide under the bridge! and Clayton holds the position pass the stripe …

Lap 4… Smrz has a five-car lead through T7 as P2 and P3 duke it out… Clayton catches Smrz in Turn 10… but doesn’t make the pass…

Lap 5… Great battle amongst the top three… P1 and P2 pull a little bit away from P3 (Topping)… Clayton passes Smrz in turn 6 for the lead!… nose-to-tail out of 7. Now Smrz gets a run through the bridge, side by side! Smrz leads at the line…

Lap 6… Topping pops on Clayton in T1 – makes it happen – and Clayton falls to P3, with Smrz continuing to lead down the back straight…

Lap 7… Smrz and Topping nose to tail… Topping gets Smrz in T1 – but goes two-off! (MX-5 rules require a safety check on two-offs). Clayton passes Smrz in turn 10, but he gets the lead back in 12… Great stuff…

Lap 8… Clayton repays the favor in 12 and holds onto the lead over Smrz. But wait, Clayton goes waaaaay wide in One and loses not only the lead, but five car lengths…

Lap 9… The order is Smrz, Clayton,, Kieron O’Rourke (sneaking up from a P6 starting spot), Don Norby, Ken Greenberg, Liebel, Chin, Keith Holdbrooks, ‘‘Broadway’’ Lemmon and Topping…

Lap 10… Smrz and Clayton execute a pass/re-pass in turn 10…

Lap 11- Clayton gets it done in in 10, but Smrs goes for the re-pass in turn 12 and makes it stick…

Lap 12… Liebel passes Greenberg for P5… now it’s a three car battle for P5…

Lap 13… Oh, boy… Nose to tail and side by side through 12! But Smrz keeps P1 at the line. Wow, this is good…

Lap 14… Huge gap back to P3… Topping, sadly, retires with damage from lap 7 incident… Great battle between Liebel and Greenberg in the fight for fifth…

Lap 15… Doh! Clayton goes two-off in the gravel trap in turn 5 and that’s that…

Last lap… Smrz takes the checker, Clayton P2 way behind, O’Rourke on his tail in third, Norby fourth and a last-lap pass by Liebel gets him fifth. Rounding out the field are Greenberg, Chin, Holdbrooks, Lemmon and three laps down, Topping (who, in a sign of things to come, set fastest race-lap, a 1:47.738, on lap five).

021208bb
Brett Smrz (r.) won the first race, while in this race 2 victory circle shot, winner Chris Topping tops the podium, with Kieron O’Rourke (l.) third.

021208cc
Race action exiting the Esses.

021208dd
Topping leading Smrz.

021208ee
Topping’s race 2 win earned him a good “Gatorading.”

SBRS MX-5 Cup Series Race 2; weather sunny and cool

Lap 1- Chris Topping is the poleman, has lead over Brett Smrz, field tidy, evenly spaced…

Lap 2… Topping gave Smrz too much room in T12; Topping goes four-off right at the stripe!… O’Rourke in P3 feeling the pressure from Clayton… Full field order is Smrz, Topping, O’Rourke, Kevin Clayton, Ken Greenberg, Don Norby, Fred Chin, Lorne Liebel, Keith Holdbrooks and Pax ‘‘TV’’ Lemmon…

Lap 3… Good battle for P7 between Chin and Liebel… O’Rourke and Clayton getting it on for third – pop for p3 in turn 1! Nope, doesn’t happen…

Lap 4… Smrz leads, O’Rourke now in second place, Clayton third… Topping comes in for his safety check, re-joins eighth…

Lap 5… Side by side action, as Topping passes Chin in T3 as he makes he way back through the field… Brett still leads, but wheel-to-wheel for P2! Clayton misses downshift but still completes pass on O’Rourke for second place…

Lap 6… Great dice for fifth and sixth: Greenberg, Liebel, Holdbrooks… Clayton closing the gap on Smrz…

Lap 7… Now Smrz stretches the lead in Three over Clayton… Chin and Liebel still cutting it up for fifth/sixth… Oh, Norby spins her under the bridge, heads to pitlane…

Lap 8… Chin gives charging Topping the corner in Seven, which makes a three-car battle for P6… Top four stay the same, fifth is now Chin, trailed by Liebel, Topping slicing up…

Lap 9… Three-wide everywhere!… Topping takes two spots, now fifth…

Lap 10… Another Doh! Norby finds the wall in Turn Five, we go FCY…

Lap 11… Nice restart, single file through Three: Smrz, Clayton, O’Rourkr, Greenberg, Topping… Clayton takes a look…

Lap 12… No change…

Lap 13… Topping tops himself, taking both Greenberg and O’Rourke in Three, now he’s in third place, staring at Clayton’s bumper…

Lap 14… Smrz still leads, Clayton topples from second to fourth as Topping and O’Rourke move up. Topping’s going after leader Smrz like you read about…

Lap 15… Topping gets a better run out of Seven… might have a shot to take Smrz…

Last lap…Nose to tail for the lead! Topping pops in One and it’s side by side in Three!… Smrz out-brakes Topping into Five, bumper to bumper for the win… Smrz still leads going into Seven – but he muffs the corners! Topping goes by down the backstraight… Woof, it’s nose-to-tail through 10… Topping keeps the lead into, through and out of Bridge – and wins. Great race for Chris Topping!… O’Rourke comes home third, holding off Clayton. Greenberg is a solo fifth, trailed by Chin and Holdbrooks. Pax ‘‘Don’t Squeeze My’’ Lemmon made a brilliant, unbelievable, fantastically exceptional pass on the last lap to win eighth place…

These Skip Barber MX-5 Cup races are a load of fun – great cars to drive. The last of the ‘‘spring training’’ races is March 28-30, at Sebring, using the layout used for testing by the IRL, Atlantic and Champ Car teams. Then, starting April 4-6 is the opener of the inaugural Skip Barber MX-5 Cup Series, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Be there!

Skip Barber MX-5 Cup Series

Non-points test race: March 28-30, Sebring International Raceway

Championship schedule:
April 4-6, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
May 2-4, VIR full course
June 6-8, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
July 10-12, Road Atlanta
September 26-28, Road America

Rick Roso

Testimonials Subscribe Contact