Posted (10/24/2008) -
Christian Franck, of Simi Valley, Calif., survived a thrilling SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to earn his first-ever race win. Todd Buras, of Melbourne, Fla., and Robert Huffmaster, of Clarkston, Mich., completed the podium. Finishing fourth, Eric Foss, of Fort Worth, Texas, claimed the 2008 Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup Championship.
After dropping a spot to Franck on the start, Huffmaster began a lengthy battle with Eric Curran's No. 30 Hale Motorsports/Whelen Motorsports MX-5 for the fifth position.
"Eric Curran and I were running about the same pace," Huffmaster said. "We had a little battle-a little contact. I talked to him after the race and know he didn't do anything intentionally. It was a little frustrating at the moment but we got through it and we're okay. We had a good battle later on in the race too. It was a lot of fun.
"The full course yellow was a huge, huge break," Huffmaster added. "I knew Todd was right up there and we're fighting for second in points. I figured it would give me a shot at him at least to try to pass him and maybe pick up the runner-up position."
Passing Foss shortly after the restart and picking up an additional spot when Rampelberg hit pit lane for his penalty, Huffmaster's No. 27 Team MER/Huffmaster Co. MX-5 took the checkered flag in third, which is also where we ended the season in the point standings.
Following an exciting Round Eight race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the teams, family and staff of the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup gathered at the Monterey Marriott to celebrate the season.
With five different winners and an average of more than three lead changes per race, 2008 was the most competitive MX-5 Cup season yet. A record grid of 31 cars was set at the Road Atlanta season opener, plus seven qualifying and six race lap records were re-written over the course of eight races.
Two of those race lap records were set by Robert Huffmaster, who, in addition to claiming third place in the Championship, was awarded the Hawk Hot Lap of the Year Award, for setting more fast race laps than any other competitor. In addition to new race lap records at Road Atlanta and Thunderbolt Raceway, Huffmaster set the fastest lap of the race at Mosport International Raceway as well.
Following Huffmaster's acceptance of the third place trophy and Todd Buras" reception of the second place trophy, Robert Davis, Mazda North American Operations Senior Vice President of Product Development and Quality, presented the 2008 SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup Championship trophy to Eric Foss. The newly crowned Champion was then presented with his MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver Development Ladder driving suit and helmet which he will wear while competing in next year's SPEED Touring Car Championship with a Mazda team. In addition thanking his sponsors, family and team, Foss expressed his gratitude to Mazda for its ladder program and the opportunity to race alongside his Mazda friends next year.