Team MER - Portland Report - Mazda MX-5 Cup
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Team MER took home their third win in four events this season's Sirius Satellite Radio Mazda MX-5 Cup Championship with a win from Andrew Caddell, of Graham, Wash., the first pro win of his career. Caddell led the most laps and stretched to a six-second lead by the checker at Portland International Raceway this past weekend.

Teammate and championship points leader, Jason Saini, lead several laps, but a mid-race spin while fighting for 2nd place dropped the driver back. He would work his way back to the 5th position and a battle for the podium by race end.

This is great to have this result at what is effectively my home track, said Caddell (Pinnacle Mazda / Team MER / AIM). Jason and I battled back and forth early on and the racier the other guys got, the more I was able to get away. 

Saini ( / Team MER) benefited from laps lead and a solid 5th place result to maintain a 30-point lead in the championship.

That race was crazy, said Saini. Everyone was going for it and I have to be satisfied with the results. We maintained our points lead but still need to go to Cleveland with the same focus and determination that keeps all our team cars at the front of the pack.

Patrick Barrett showed a lot of poise as the 17-year-old qualified 5th in the wet session and ran in the 4th position for much of the race before making contact with the third place car. Barrett recovered from a spin in the festival curves late in the race and worked his Alpinestars / AutismSpeaks / Team MER MX-5 up to the 9th position at the finish, logging the third fastest lap in the process.

Rick Bellew (B&W Supply / Team MER) had worked his way up from his 10th starting position and was battling in the top-10. Unfortunately the driver lost third gear mid-way through the race and limped home to an 18th place finish.

Donnie Barnes (Team MER) battled with several drivers the entire race and finished in the 20th position in his second career MX-5 Cup event.

After consistently logging top 15 times in practice, Forest Barber (Team MER / Feeds the Need Racing) had similar luck, having transmission trouble early on after running 15th, moving up five positions from his starting position. He would end up in the 27th position.

We had mixed results today, said Shannon McMasters, Team MER owner. On one hand, it is always good to have cars win and be upfront. At one time we had cars in 1st, 2nd and 4th, which is a great accomplishment. We all think the set-ups on the cars were good, but we had some mechanical failures that should have been top-10 finishes. We will work hard to prepare for Cleveland and hopefully have all of our drivers battling in the top half of the grid.
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