Barrett Experiences Roller Coaster Weekend in Mazda MX-5 Cup Debut.

Los Osos,Calif.(May 24, 2007)
- Patrick Barrett competed in his first SCCA Pro Racing SIRIUS Satellite Radio Mazda MX-5 Cup at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California May 17-20. The event was part of the US Sports Car Invitational which featured the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series and the Koni Challenge.

The 17 year old from Los Osos, Calif. entered the weekend having only completed Skip Barber's new Mazda MX-5 Cup 3 Day school at the raceway, 3 weekends prior to the event. Barrett was able to learn the basics of driving a racing sedan to help prepare for his debut race weekend. Having not tested with the team or in the full race version he faced a reasonably steep learning curve.

Patrick Barrett MX-5 Laguna Seca
(Photo by John Barrett)

Friday practice was Barrett's first real opportunity to run competitively with the series drivers. In the morning's 30 minute session, the young Californian was comfortably in the top 10. The afternoon practice saw Barrett jumped up into fifth on the time sheets, but was bumped down to sixth in the closing minutes of the session

"Everything ran really smoothly today," said Barrett. "I'm still just figuring out the limits of the car so I'm not worried about car set up at the moment. When the team and I go over the data from today, we'll see where I can improve for tomorrow's qualifying."

On Saturday the drivers made their way out onto the track at 8:00 A.M. for the 30 minute qualifying session. Barrett immediately jumped up to second early in on, but was eventually bumped down to ninth. At the completion of qualifying, Barrett was unable to improve his position, but was confident in the car's capability for Sunday's race.

"The session started out well for us, but as we progressed, the car began to handle a bit loose," remarked Barrett. "I made the mistake of not coming into the pits for possible changes. I thought the car would come to me later in the session but I guessed wrong. I'm not worried though because it's a long race. (45 minutes)"

Due to a no-show, Barrett was quickly promoted to eighth for the start of the race. At the drop of the green flag the whole outside row slowed up. Barrett was unable to react in time and smashed into the back bumper of the sixth place starting car.

Barrett fell back to mid-pack by Turn 2. Later in the first lap he took evasive action to avoid two spinning cars and dropped back to 16th. He quickly worked his way up to seventh place but with eight laps left in the race his engine seized.

It was an excellent showing for the series rookie. "Today was definitely a learning experience. This is a two race deal with Team MER so I'm looking forward to the next round at Portland International Raceway on June 8-10," said Barrett.

You can find out more about the SCCA Pro Racing SIRIUS Satellite Radio Mazda MX-5 Cup at www.mx-5cup.com. http://www.MX-5Cup.com/

For more information about Team MER go to wwww.motorsportenterprisesracing.com http://www.motorsportenterprisesracing..com/


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