March Start for Tim Paul
Mahopac, NY – March brought in the official start of spring and for Screaming Monkey Racing and Tim Paul, the start of their CellMark Paper-backed 2014 SCCA Pro Racing campaign. Paul traveled to Sebring for the first Mazda MX-5 Cup event of the year, and followed that up with testing via a SCCA Club Racing event at Road Atlanta to prepare for the start of the F2000 Championship Series season.
At Sebring, as a support race for the historic 12 hours, Paul made his sports car racing debut in the No. 6 Mazda MX-5 entry for Texas-based ALARA Racing.
“I dropped the ball in qualifying; with the cars requiring a very different driving style it just took me too deep into the week to get any really good speed out of the No. 6 car so we started pretty badly in both races,” said Paul. “In the first race I was able to move forward but my pace was still below what I had really wanted and we finished 12th.”
A day later Paul’s pace had improved, but a radio misunderstanding coupled with a flagging call mishap set him far back in the pack.
“The field strung out a bit so I was only able to get a couple of guys back before the finish and we ended up 18th. That was disappointing but the data and lap times show we are headed in the right direction and I think by the end of the year I and my ALARA Racing MX-5 will be really strong.”
Paul is 14th in points out of 27 entries after Sebring.
The next event for the BF Goodrich MX-5 Cup Series is in California at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, May 2-4.
Next up for the Franklin Pierce University graduate was a test weekend at Road Atlanta during an SCCA event, strapping into an open wheel car for the first time since the final USF2000 race of 2013 last October in Houston, TX. His No. 06 Green/Orange F2000 Van Dieman ran flawlessly once clutch problems were sorted out during the open test.
“Glenn Phillips and the GTP guys did a fantastic job of preparing the car over the winter. We were really fast and the car is a beast this year,” Paul said. “The Elite Zetec engine definitely won’t lose any drag races, and we got the setup pretty close to perfect, in my opinion. Hopefully we will show well at the opening rounds of the F2000 Championship Series season.”
Those opening rounds take place in a double race weekend at Road Atlanta, in Braselton, Georgia, April 11-13, with a test day on Thursday April 10. With a schedule that includes running two full-time series in 2014, the SMR team will run a minimum of 27 races this season, the most ambitious program yet.