Cooper Takes 2011 Championship|1
Jason Saini, of Fort Worth, Texas, held off a last lap attempted pass from 2011 SCCA Pro Racing MX-5 Cup Champion Michael Cooper, of Syosset, N.Y., to take his first win of the season in the finale at Road Atlanta, part of the 14th Petit Le Mans weekend. Marc Miller, of Holland, Mich., crossed the finish line in third.
Saini crossed the finish line first in a hard-fought win that saw seven official lead changes during the 27-lap race amongst three different drivers.
The winning No. 28 Autobarn Mazda of Countryside/New Balance/Phiten/SunTrust/CJ Wilson's Children's Charities MX-5 led Cooper in a nose-to-tail battle past the white flag signaling one lap to go, but Cooper took the lead in Turn One. Trying to hold off Saini with just three corners to go, Cooper's No. 6 Atlanta Motorsports Group MX-5 slid wide in Turn 10 and off the track.
Cooper and Saini had enough of a gap on third place for Cooper to hold the runner-up position, 10.096-seconds behind Saini at the checkered flag. Saini averaged 90.758 mph for the 27-lap, 68.58-mile race.
It was the first win of the season for Saini and the C.J. Wilson Racing team, formed over the off-season and competing in their first season of racing. Saini has seven career Playboy MX-5 Cup wins to his credit.
"It feels great," Saini said. "Congratulations to Cooper and AMG for the Championship, but we were strong all year long. We were in contention. We had a lot of second places by narrow margins, so we knew it was a matter of time. I really wanted this one today, Michael and I had a great race, it was probably one of the more fun races I've done. I'm so proud of Marc to be on the podium, and just proud of the whole C.J. Wilson Racing team to come out in our first year and build a new organization, bring all new people together and come out and be able to compete all year. It's a great year for us.
"He passed me in one after the white flag, which I was kind of curious about because I think you kind of want to be in second place here. I got a run on him, and he tried to go super deep and sailed off. It looked like he was going to be able to come back on the track and still take the win. He started bouncing, the car was in the air, it looked like an off road race. He came back on sideways, I got around and that was it. He tried really