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Aug 28, 2014 - 06:19 PM
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Mallinen Picks Up the Pace at Grattan
Posted by: newsla on Aug 28, 2014 - 06:17 PM
Sports Cars
Mallinen Picks Up the Pace at Grattan


A mechanical issue in the SCCA Majors race at Grattan didn’t deter 16-year-old Max Mällinen. Coming off a string of strong performances the Swan Motorsports driver was taken out of a dominating performance in his No. 10 Spectrum/Honda on a Sunday afternoon following a second-place run in Saturday’s SCCA sprint race.

 

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It was a usual 2014-race weekend for Mällinen, as the high school student tackled yet another race track he had never turned a lap on prior to early morning practice.

The highly technical track in Belding, Michigan gave Mällinen more podium hardware as he started from the outside pole on Saturday and finished second. The same starting position would follow on Sunday, and the black Spectrum won the fierce battle for turn one, with Mällinen shooting out of the corner in the lead.

Eleven laps later, the car was still in the lead when Mällinen suffered a rare tire failure on his Spectrum/Honda. He kept his cool, however, and was able to nurse the car back to the Swan pit box, going a lap down.

The Swan crew was able to replace the tire and wheel assembly, and released Mällinen onto clear track, which gave him the real estate he needed to drop his fast time to 1:17.846, demolishing the existing track record which stood at 1:19.627. The tire failure meant he would not repeat his victory-lane performance that came at Elkhart Lake earlier in the summer.

“This was another great result for me,” Mällinen said. “My goals are to quickly develop the setup, run fast laps early and win the race. I was well on my way to the win, the Swan Motorsports car was perfect, and with my lap times, I feel like I accomplished the majority of our goals.”

There is only one more event between Mällinen and his 2014 objective of running for the win at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Laguna Seca in October, as the Swan team heads for another SCCA Majors event in Topeka, Kansas this coming weekend. If Mällinen can keep up his pace, he will be able to lock in his qualifying spot for the Runoffs.

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