Oct 10, 2001
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From a press release issued by Mike Ciccotto's agent, Norm Viano of Lawdog Sports Management:<BR><BR>PRO THUNDER - Still Up for Grabs! <BR><BR>October 10, Atlanta, Georgia<BR><BR>While the rest of the classes in the AMA Superbike Championship have been decided for the 2001 season, the Buell Pro Thunder series remains undecided. With three Pro Thunder rounds run at WERA events this season, the Championship will not be actually decided until the final race at Road Atlanta, October 23-28th. <BR><BR>Most glance at the current points and assume that Thomas Montano has an insurmountable lead in the class (279 to 218), but this is misleading because every rider is allowed to drop their two worst results at the end of the season. And since Mike Ciccotto missed two rounds to run a Formula USA race and a World Endurance race (at Brands Hatch, earlier in the season), he actually is closer to Montano than you would initially think. Dropping Montano's current two worst rounds, a fourth place at Daytona (27 points) and a sixth place at Pikes Peak (25 points) reduces his current points lead to 227 points, just 9 points ahead of Ciccotto and 15 points ahead of Dave Estok. So with the final round approaching at Road Atlanta, the Championship race is tighter than ever. <BR><BR>Consider the following scenario: If Ciccotto wins the race and earns the two extra points (for Laps Lead and Pole Position), then his total points for the season would be 256. If Montano finishes 3rd, his total points would also be 256. And in that tie-breaker scenario both racers would have two 1st place finishes, but Ciccotto would have more 2nd place finishes (3 to Montano's 2) and would win the Championship! <BR><BR>Also to consider is that although Ciccotto did not race two rounds, he still earned more Pole Points and Lap Leader points this season than any other Pro Thunder rider (3 Pole Points and 3 Lap Leader points, for a total of 6 extra points). So it is very possible that Mike will earn these points at the final round, especially since Road Atlanta is his favorite track and he is often very fast there. In May, for example, he qualified almost a second faster than the 2nd place qualifier (Ben Spies) in the 750cc Supersport class, then went on to win the race by almost 5 seconds. <BR><BR>Further evidence that Mike is up to the challenge is the fact that at the recent AMA round at VIR, a flat tire during the race was the only thing that prevented him from dominating all weekend, having been fastest in practice, and in qualifying. <BR><BR>So what are Ciccotto's thoughts for Road Atlanta and the Championship he might win there? "All I am thinking about is going to Atlanta, winning pole, leading the most laps, winning the race, and as far as the Championship is concerned - well, all I can do is my best. If I get the Championship, great. I'd love to do that for Hal's Performance Advantage and for Buell. But, if I don't get another flat tire, I'll dominate there. Count on it." <BR>