|October 17, 1998 - Las Vegas Motor Speedway - Round Twelve (50 Laps)|
|Miller Slips By Hall & Quintanilla For Exciting Oval WinAfter more than 15 official lead changes and a
near-photo finish, World Speed's Mikel Miller emerged the winner of the SCCA Pro
Racing-sanctioned Star Mazda Series race that was held in conjunction with the IRL finale
on Las Vegas Motor Speedway's 1.5-mile oval. An impressive field of 29 cars took the green
and proceeded to amaze everyone as long trains of Formula Mazdas skillfully used the draft
to navigate LVMS' challenging banked turns and long straightaways.
From the outside pole, Miller jumped into the early lead over Star Mazda points
leader Ian Lacy, holding off the Stacy Suspension Systems driver until lap 11 when Lacy
used the draft to slingshot by Miller. Besides Lacy and Miller, the lead pack also
included Valley Motor Center's Jim Hall II and Chris Emanuel, as well as Matt Downs and
Rolando Quintanilla, driving one of Tom Moore Autosports' Formula Mazdas.
No one driver ever really pulled away as various drafting partners worked
together to stay in touch with the lead pack. There were a couple close calls involving
cars sliding into the walls, including incidents involving Russell Gaglio, Tim Magrath and
Alan Benson. With the exception of Benson, who injured his right knee, no one else was
The race, according to all the eyewitness accounts, was one of the best of the
season with lead changes among Lacy, Miller, Quintanilla and Hall. Points leader Lacy
stayed in the hunt, but engine troubles sidelined him on lap 32, leaving Miller,
Quintanilla, Hall and Downs the lead foursome.
"I think some of us underestimated how important the draft is at Las
Vegas," said Miller, who added a fourth victory to his 1998 Star Mazda total and his
first on an oval. "I'd get a little distance, but then the pack behind us would catch
up. There were times we were running so close I could smell the carbon monoxide from the
car in front of me. It was amazing."
With the laps ticking away, it was really anyone's guess what would happen when the white flag, indicating the final lap, was shown to the field. "I spent the last 10 laps of the race wondering how it was going to shake out," Miller said. "Almost any scenario was possible when there were that many cars in the lead pack. This was certainly one of the most fun races I've ever run."On the last lap, it was clear the race was going to come down three cars: Miller, Hall and Quintanilla. Out of Turn Four, they spread out three wide with Miller the meat in the sandwich between Hall, who went high, and Quintanilla, who stayed low. It was a drag race to the finish where Miller was declared the winner. The race will be televised on espn2 on Monday, Nov. 2 at 6:30 p.m. EST. Don't miss this one! It promises to be one of the best races of the year.
Top 10 Point Standings
(After 12 of 13 rounds)
Top 5 Master Series Point Standings (After 12 of 13
|3rd||Jim Hall II|
|Time of Race: 33m49.112s
Race Average Speed: 133.063mph
Lap Leaders: Miller 1-10, 18, 19, 28-31, 34-37, 39-50; Lacy 11-13; Quintanilla 14, 15, 38; Hall 20-27, 32, 33
Fastest Lap: Goudy, 37.196 (145.177mph)
Margin of Victory: 0.021sec