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Racing News: Cooper Grabs Third 2011 Playboy MX-5 Cup Win at Mazda Raceway


  Mike Cooper earned the win at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Cooper Grabs Third 2011 Playboy MX-5 Cup Win At Mazda Raceway
After holding off an early battle, Mike Cooper, from Syosset, New York, ran away with his third SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup win of 2011 on Saturday morning at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Jason Saini, of Ft. Worth, Texas, and Jeff Mosing, of Austin, Texas, joined Cooper on the podium.

Cooper started from the pole in the No. 6 AMG Racing Mazda MX-5 and was chased from the start by Dean Copeland. The pair ran within two car lengths until lap 13, when Copeland’s No. 7 Copeland Motorsports/Sync Speed Inc. Mazda MX-5 spun in the exit of Turn Five while giving chase.

From there, Cooper cruised to an 11.861-second victory in the 45-minute timed race, which covered 25 laps at the 2.238-mile, 11-turn circuit. Cooper sprinted 55.95 miles in 44:56.013, averaging 74.710 mph. The championship leader also turned the fastest lap of the race on lap 11, in a time of 1:42.378 (78.697 mph). Copeland never rejoined the race and was ultimately scored in 15th position.

Jason Saini, chasing Cooper in both the championship race and on the track on Saturday, finished second in the No. 28 the Balance/Phiten/SunTrust/CJ Wilson’s Children’s Charities Mazda MX-5.

Saini was hounded by Jeff Mosing’s No. 10 Race Now For Autism/Frank’s International/ALARA Racing MX-5 for the last half of the race, with Mosing catching Saini but settling for third. Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca was the third consecutive runner-up finish for Saini. Mosing finished on the podium for the fourth time in five races this season.

Justin Hall, from nearby Davis, California, edged Ara Malkhassian in a side-by-side finish for fourth and fifth positions. The pair battled all race long, with Malkhassian’s No. 11 ALARA Racing MX-5 drafting Hall’s No. 4 AMG Racing MX-5 down the final front stretch but finishing less than one-half car length behind at the finish line.

Open-wheel racer Joel Miller (No. 55 AMG Racing Mazda MX-5) finished sixth in what was not only his first Playboy MX-5 Cup race, but his first career race in any car with fenders. Tim Probert (No. 26 ALARA Racing MX-5) matched his season best with a seventh-place finish.

Ryan Hazelton (No. 5 AMGRacing/ MX-5), Alan Fudge (No. 9 AMG Racing/Quest Software MX-5) and Henri Richards (No. 12 ALARA Racing MX-5) completed the top 10 on Saturday, each making their MX-5 Cup debut. Frankie Muniz crossed the finish line in 8th position, but was disqualified following the race for contact with another driver.

Cooper now holds a 27-point point advantage in the Playboy MX-5 Cup Championship, holding a 357–330 point lead over Saini. Copeland sits third with 271 points, followed by Malkhassian (268) and Mosing (266).

Round Seven and Eight of the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup season will take place at Brainerd International Raceway, September 2–4, with a doubleheader race event.

Team Receives News About Jordan Jemsek Leaving Children's Hospital Cancer-Free After Successful Bone Marrow Transplant Surgery
Cequent Consumer Products, DKMS, Bobby Labonte and the JTG Daugherty Racing team has seen first hand the power of how a great partnership can help save lives and encourage thousands of people to support a lifesaving cause. The word spread quickly that six-year-old Jordan Jemsek returned home this week to Charlotte from Washington, D.C., cancer-free. She had been in D.C. since February for a bone-marrow transplant and recovery and her battle against Acute Myeloblastic Leukemia (AML) is now over.

“Jordan left me a message and it’s awesome to know the transplant worked,” Labonte said. “It’s an incredible story that we were a small part of during the sequence of events that led to her being cancer-free.”

The story of Jordan’s homecoming was also covered by the media in Charlotte, July 7. Cequent Consumer Products is sponsoring 2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Bobby Labonte and Team JTG this year with brands Reese Towpower and Highland featured on Labonte’s No. 47 Toyota car. Cequent gave DKMS—one of the world’s largest bone-marrow donor centers—the back panel of the Reese Towpower/Highland car for Cequent-sponsored races. Jemsek’s picture was on the Reese car at the Bud Shootout in the preseason race at Daytona International Speedway to encourage fans to “getswabbed” and register to be a bone-marrow donor and possible match for Jemsek.

Jemsek’s story came to light after JTG team member Joey McCarthy told the team about Jemsek. He had read about it in the Charlotte Observer and has a child Jemsek’s age.

Besides the publicity of on the Reese Towpower car panel, Jemsek’s story was featured on SPEED and Labonte and his team visited Jemsek at Presbyterian Hemby Children's Hospital before the start of the race season. The visit compelled the team to work with DKMS, Reese Towpower and Synder’s-Lance Inc. to help spread the word about Jemsek’s need for a bone-marrow donor.

Race fans and the public rallied with outpouring support and thousands of potential bone-marrow donors registered over from all around the United States. Cequent Consumer Products and DKMS recently teamed up in May for three lifesaving events during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series All-Star Week in Charlotte to provide the public an opportunity to get swabbed and save a potential life by registering to become a bone-marrow donor at a two-day event at the NASCAR Hall of Fame and at another event at the Michael Waltrip Racing Fan Fest.

To help other Leukemia patients in need of a bone-marrow transplant, a match must be found for each patient. Visit for information on how to become a bone-marrow donor.

Roush Yates Wins in Sprint, Dirt, and Autocross
Randy Martin and Chuck "The Cobra" Hebing ruled the Sprint Car series with their Roush Yates Ford 360 engines, as Mike Maier captured his first win of the season in the Goodguys Autocross series. Meanwhile, Scott Bloomquist continued his quest for the Lucas Oil Late Model Series Championship by winning his eighth race of the season.

Martin took the lead on lap 11 to win the $1,200 purse event. He continued his successful weekend by capturing another win Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Twin Features at Knoxville Raceway. This marked Martin's 18th career win at Knoxville, tying him for third all-time.

Hebing continued his streak at the 25-lap Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprint/SUNY Canton Series. He led the final lap to score his second ESS victory of 2011. This was Hebing's fifth career Sprint Car win at the Utica-Rome Speedway and his 14th overall ESS win.

Maier, of Maier Brothers Racing, recently purchased a used Roush Yates 358 CID Nationwide Engine for Autocross racing in a ’66 Ford Mustang and won the Autocross race in the 14th Annual Goodguys Nationals in Columbus, Ohio this past weekend. Maier captured wins on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoon.

Bloomquist made it three in a row in the Lucas Oil Late Model Series on Saturday night as he won the "Clash at the Mag" at Magnolia Motor Speedway. The 47-year-old hall of famer beat out his arch-rival Billy Moyer to earn his eighth win of the season and the 34th of his career.

Bloomquist is now only 15 points shy of the Championship lead. The "Clash at the Mag" can be seen on SPEED July 31 at 1:00 p.m. (EDT).

  Guy Smith scored his first outright win of the season in the third round of the American Le Mans Series at Lime Rock Park, July 9.

Smith Extends Championship Lead With First Outright Alms Win of the Season

Guy Smith extended his lead in the American Le Mans Series when the Yorkshireman scored his first outright win of the season in the third round of the series at Lime Rock Park, July 9.

Smith added to his sixth- and second-place finishes from the opening two rounds with his first victory since Mid Ohio last August.

American co-driver Chris Dyson started their No. 16 G-OIL/ModSpace/Construct Corps Lola Mazda Coupé from pole position on the 31-car grid in the 165-minute race.

Dyson staved off immense pressure from Lucas Luhr/Klaus Graf (Lola Aston Martin) before briefly relinquishing the lead but handed over the Lola to Smith back in the lead with just short of an hour on the clock during a full-course caution.

Smith, who set the fastest lap of the race, led by 12 seconds before pitting for fuel and tires with 52 minutes remaining but resumed still ahead of the Luhr/Graf Lola, which pitted at the same time. A brief safety car period with 20 minutes to run cancelled out Smith’s 25-second lead but the Briton still took the checkered flag 19.969 seconds ahead, the Smith/Dyson Lola having led 165 of the 187-lap race.

United Autosports’ Bell & Guasch Continue To Lead British GT Championship
Matt Bell (GB) and Michael Guasch (USA) head into a near two-month summer break still leading the Avon Tyres British GT Championship.

The Anglo-American pairing for United Autosports lead the 10-race series by two-points courtesy of a last lap overtaking maneuver in the second and final race at Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium) July 9.

Having achieved sixth place in the opening race, the No. 23 Molecule Audi R8 LMS of Bell/Guasch secured fourth in class in Race Two when Guasch overtook their closest championship rival on the final lap.

The Bell/Guasch “combo” has now achieved five top-sixes from the opening six rounds and has led the series since their round-three victory in May. The “sister” No. 24 Teknavo Audi of John Bintcliffe (GB) and Jay Palmer (GB) registered ninth place in the second race after the latter had crashed out on oil in the opening encounter.