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May 04, 2014 - 06:20 AM
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Koch Secures Mazda MX-5 Cup Round Four At Mazda Raceway
Posted by: newsla on May 04, 2014 - 06:15 AM
Sports Cars
Koch Secures Mazda MX-5 Cup Round Four At Mazda Raceway


Kenton Koch, of Glendora, California, took home the SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires Round Four win at his home track of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, part of the Monterey Grand Prix Powered by Mazda. John Dean, of Sebring, Florida, finished second, as Sebastian Landy, of Great Falls, Virginia, completed the podium.

 

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Driving a special Gumby-inspired livery on his No. 12 ALARA Racing/Mazda Motorsports/BFGoodrich Tires MX-5, Koch led all but one lap in the time-shortened race that lasted 40 minutes and averaged 71.176 mph around the 11-turn, 2.238-mile permanent road course.

The start of what was scheduled to be a 45-minute timed race starting at 8:00 a.m. (PDT), was delayed by 10 minutes due to on-course visibility issues caused by thick fog that hung over the race course. Once deemed safe to proceed with pace laps, the 40-minute clock was started as the field circulated four times behind the pace car. The green flag was flown for the double-file, rolling start as the leaders passed by the line to begin lap five.

After being turned loose, Koch drove around Dean on lap two to take the early lead. From that point on, Koch put his head down and focused on smooth driving to stay ahead of Dean.

“It wasn’t an easy win,” Koch said. “It may have looked easy since I led each lap, but I had to be mistake-free. John [Dean] is an awesome driver. He’s one of the quickest, most consistent guys out there. For me to be able to stay in front of him makes me feel really good. I hope this can help build some momentum into the next two races.”

Dean said that the delay before the start of the race hurt his chances of taking home a win in his No. 16 Projections Research/PPG MX-5.

“When we got delayed for the fog, that hurt our strategy with tire temperatures,” Dean said. “We ended up getting a little hotter than we were expecting. So, we overshot with the tires.

“Kenton [Koch] was running really well, and I was just trying to hang in there to take advantage if he pushed his tires too hard. At one point, I missed a shift coming off the last corner allowing him to pull a small gap. I just stayed there the rest of the race, unable to get close. It’s a wash for the points, so we’ll go to the next one and try to squeeze out some more.”

For Landy, the rolling start gave him an opportunity to make the best of his fourth-place starting position. At the controls of his No. 41 Excitations.com/Atlanta Motorsports Group MX-5, Landy was passed by Joey Bickers at the drop of the green flag. Bickers then engaged his CJ Wilson teammate, Patrick Gallagher, in battle for the third position. Landy made the most of that situation, taking the position for himself.

“It was a bit crazy in the beginning with the rolling start,” Landy said. “I got bumped as the flag dropped, knocking me into neutral.

“Bickers got by me on the start heading into Turn Two. Then, Gallagher got a bad run out of Two and I managed to split both of them [Bickers and Gallagher]. As they started to fight, I was able to pull away. By the time I got back into third, at the end of lap one, the top-two drivers had already pulled out a large gap.”

Bickers crossed under the checkered flag in the fourth position. In his No. 29 Mazda Motorsports/BFGoodrich Tires MX-5, Bickers battled for supremacy over Gallagher for the entire 21-lap race. The two drivers traded positions six times, officially.

Bickers was ahead of the No. 28 MedBuild/Henry Schein/ModSpace MX-5 of Gallagher at the end of lap 18, and held on for the last three laps to finish less that 0.2-second in front of his teammate.

Lucas Bize, of New York, took home the winner’s hardware in the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge class. He used a combination of patience, smooth driving and slower traffic to move forward from his fourth-place grid position.

“It was a tough race,” Bize said. “I knew I needed to make the tires last for the whole race. So, I did what I could to get out front. Once I got the lead, I just focused on hitting my marks.”

On the heels of yesterday’s win, Ben Albano, of Greenwich, Connecticut, finished second. In his No. 99 Royal Rugby SBMX-5, Drake Kemper, of Toluca Lake, California, completed the Skip Barber podium.

Dean leaves California with his Championship lead intact, after collecting a total of 246 points. Koch also holds station in second, eight markers behind, while Landy sits third with 211 points.

In Pro Challenge Championship, Kemper takes over the championship lead from Bryan Hixon, after collecting 224 points. On the strength of a win and second-place finish, Albano is only five markers behind Kemper. Meanwhile Hixon occupies third with 215 points.

Rounds Five and Six of the SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires are scheduled for another doubleheader event June 27-29, as part of the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston.

Stay up to date with the SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires by going to www.mx-5cup.com. Like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/MazdaMX5Cup and follow us on Twitter and Instagram @MazdaMX5Cup.

MONTEREY, Calif. - Results from Saturday's 21-lap, 46.998-mile SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires Round Four race, part of the Monterey Grand Prix Powered by Mazda at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, with finishing position, class, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, purse, laps and reason out (if any).

1. MX, (2), Kenton Koch(R), Glendora, Calif., MX-5, $3750, 21.
2. MX, (1), John Dean II, Sebring, Fla., MX-5, $2750, 21, -.799.
3. MX, (4), Sebastian Landy, Great Falls, Va., MX-5, $2250, 21, -13.860.
4. MX, (5), Joey Bickers(R), Moorpark, Calif., MX-5, $2000, 21, -21.980.
5. MX, (3), Patrick Gallagher, Thornville, Ohio, MX-5, $1750, 21, -22.164.
6. MX, (6), Devin Jones(R), Mooresville, N.C., MX-5, $1650, 21, -26.395.
7. MX, (8), Lucas Catania(R), Cazenovia, N.Y., MX-5, $1550, 21, -31.634.
8. MX, (10), Timothy Paul, Mahopac, N.Y., MX-5, $1450, 21, -31.909.
9. MX, (12), Timothy Reger(R), Houston, Texas, MX-5, $1350, 21, -37.178.
10. MX, (17), Nathanial Sparks, Spanish Fort, Ala., MX-5, $1250, 21, -37.355.
11. MX, (13), Steve Bottom, Newport Beach, Calif., MX-5, 21, -54.540.
12. MX, (14), Brent Mosing, Lafayette, La., MX-5, 21, -57.504.
13. MX, (9), Tim Probert, Houston, Texas, MX-5, 21, -1:22.890.
14. MX, (16), Joseph Catania(R), Cazenovia, N.Y., MX-5, 21, -1:25.505.
15. MX, (11), Chris Haldeman(R), Princeton, Texas, MX-5, 14, Mech.
16. MX, (7), Ara Malkhassian, Houston, Texas, MX-5, 13, Mech.

1. SBMX, (21), Lucas Bize, New York, N.Y., SB MX-5, 21.
2. SBMX, (20), Ben Albano, Greenwich, Conn., SB MX-5, 21, -1.654.
3. SBMX, (18), Drake Kemper, Toluca Lake, Calif., SB MX-5, 21, -1.848.
4. SBMX, (23), Bryan Hixon, San Antonio, Texas, SB MX-5, 21, -2.388.
5. SBMX, (19), Robby Foley, Randolph, N.J., SB MX-5, 21, -2.969.
6. SBMX, (22), Zach Lee, San Antonio, Texas, SB MX-5, 21, -15.754.
7. SBMX, (24), Sarah Montgomery, Lafayette, La., SB MX-5, 21, -38.967.
8. SBMX, (26), Felix Borodaty, Short Hills, N.J., SB MX-5, 20, -1 lap.
9. SBMX, (25), John Morton, Waukegan, Ill., SB MX-5, 20, -1 lap.
10. SBMX, (27), Chris Beaufait, Freeland, Wash., SB MX-5, 12, Mech.

Time of race: 39 minutes, 37.081 seconds.
Average speed: 71.176 mph
Margin of victory: .799 Seconds
Lap leaders: Laps 1-1, #16 John Dean II; laps 2-18, #12 Kenton Koch(R)
Fastest race lap: #16 John Dean II, 1:41.258 (79.567 mph)
Fastest qualifier: #16 John Dean II, 1:42.105 (78.907 mph)


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