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Mazda MX-5 Cup At Grand Prix Of Houston
Posted by: newsla on Jun 27, 2014 - 07:03 AM
Sports Cars
Mazda MX-5 Cup At Grand Prix Of Houston


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Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston
10-turn, 1.7-mile temporary street circuit

Saturday, June 28, 8:30 a.m. (CDT)

Race 1: Saturday, June 28, 12:10 p.m. (CDT)
Race 2: Sunday, June 29, 12:00 p.m. (CDT)

Race Length:
Saturday: 40-minute timed race
Sunday: 45-minute timed race

Track Records:
Qualifying Lap: 1:24.157 (69.898 mph), Christian Szymczak, 2013
Race Lap: N/A
Margin of Victory: N/A

Previous Winner:
2007: Jason Saini
2013: Race Cancelled by Promoter

Live Timing & Scoring and lap notes via the SCCA® Pit Board are available for all sessions through www.mx-5cup.com.

Lone Star State Tussle
Five drivers from the country’s second largest state, by land mass, are scheduled to compete in
their home race at the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston. These five drivers include three
veterans and two rookies all trying to defend the honor of Texas.

Series veteran Ara Malkhassian, of Houston, will lead his three-car ALARA Racing effort into battle
on the streets of NRG Park. Rookie Timothy Reger, of Houston, is another driver vying to become
the first hometown driver to win this race. Mazda MX-5 Cup rookie Chris Haldeman, from Princeton,
Texas, just north east of Dallas, will also make his bid for the podium this weekend.

Zach Lee and Bryan Hixon, both of San Antonio, Texas, are scheduled to make the start at the
controls of their Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge machines.

Story Leads
The SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup Series Presented by BFGoodrich Tires returns to Houston for a doubleheader event, to support the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston. This will be the second consecutive year, and third time in total, that the series will make a stop at the city that sits on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico.

During last year’s event, the race was cancelled due to a serious crash during the second race of the Verizon Indycar Series doubleheader. Points earned in the single qualifying session counted toward the year-end totals.

Weather conditions could be a challenge. Last year, this race took place in October. With this year’s date being moved to the end of June, temperatures will be higher, reaching the high 80s. If that weren’t enough, there is a chance of rain forecasted each day of the three-day event, in the Houston area.

John Dean (No. 16 Projections Research/PPG MX-5), of Sebring, Florida, is the team principal at Sick Sideways racing and the Championship point leader heading to Houston. During last year’s race weekend, Dean was in the top five at the conclusion of the practice and qualifying sessions.

Nathanial Sparks, of Spanish Fort, Alabama, will be at the controls of his No. 8 OOTSK Performance/Bimmerworld MX-5, fielded by Sick Sideways. On this return trip to the venue, Sparks has the opportunity to put last year’s experience to good use in his quest to score his first win of 2014.

Houston-based ALARA Racing, led by team principal Ara Malkhassian (No. 11 ALARA Racing MX-5), of Houston, has entered a three car effort for their home race. This will be the third time that Malkhassian will drive in front of the Houston crowd as he has been entered in each of the three Mazda MX-5 Cup events held there.

The series stalwart will be joined by a pair of rookie teammates. Kenton Koch, of Glendora, California, and Timothy Paul, of Mahopac, New York, will be at the controls of Mazda MX-5
Cup spec machinery for the first time on the tight, short street course. While Koch, in the No. 12 ALARA Racing/Mazda Motorsports/BFGoodrich Tires MX-5, has a leg up with last year’s race in the Pro Challenge class, the differences between the two cars may take some adjustment. For Paul (No. 6 ALARA Racing/Cellmark MX-5), this will be his first time at the event driving a car with fenders. Paul took part in last year’s USF2000 race held at the venue.

Atlanta Motorsports Group will field a total of four cars, matching CJ Wilson Racing as the largest team this weekend. The team is led by Sebastian Landy, of Great Falls, Virginia, who is enjoying a breakout season in his No. 49 Excitations.com/Atlanta Motorsports Group MX-5. Michael Cooper (No. 41 Atlanta Motorsports Group MX-5), of Syosset, New York, the 2011 series Champion, will be entered in his first full Mazda MX-5 Cup race weekend since winning the title.

The father/son duo of Joseph Catania and Lucas Catania, both of Cazenovia, New York, will also be in action for Atlanta Motorsports Group. The younger of the two, Lucas (No. 17 Atlanta Motorsports Group/NY Spine & Wellness/SOS MX-5) will start the event fourth in the Championship. His father, Joseph, will take to the Houston street course for the first time in his No. 18 Atlanta Motorsports Group/NY Spine & Wellness/SOS MX-5.

CJ Wilson Racing will bring a cadre of four young guns to Houston. Patrick Gallagher (No. 28 MedBuild/Henry Schein/ModSpace MX-5), of Thornville, Ohio, is the most experienced of the group and took part in last year’s event. He will do his best to help his three rookie teammates learn the ins and outs of this unique and challenging course.

Joey Bickers (No. 29 Mazda Motorsports/BFGoodrich Tires MX-5), of Moorpark, California, and Devin Jones (No. 35 Veristor MX-5), of Mooresville, North Carolina, have been with the series from the beginning of the season, making the learning process a little simpler. Brandon Kidd, of Manlius, New York, will have a taller task as he jumps into the No. 27 Monticello Motor Club MX-5 this weekend, a seat normally filled by Charles Paquin.

A new team to the series at the beginning of the year, X-Factor Racing will have two cars at Houston. The more experienced Chris Haldeman (No. 20 X-Factor Racing MX-5), of Princeton, Texas, and Timothy Reger (No. 19 X-Factor Racing MX-5), of Houston, will take their first crack at the venue.
A pair of single-car efforts will also make the trip south. Christian Tetzlaff, of Athens, Georgia, will pilot his customary No. 23 Lanier Tech/MAZDASPEED MX-5, while rookie Spencer Patterson, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, will sit behind the wheel of his No. 79 Jim Locke Automotive MX-5.

The top positions in the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge Championship are in tight contention, as the top three drivers are covered by nine points. Drake Kemper (No. 99 Royal Rugby SBMX-5), of Toluca Lake, California, leads the scrum with 224 points. Ben Albano, of Greenwich, Connecticut, sits five markers back, in his No. 61 Project Yellow Light SBMX-5. Completing the top three is Bryan Hixon (No. 63 Blackmore Partners/xBorder Foods & Wine SBMX-5), of San Antonio, Texas, with 215 points.

Stay up to date on the series at www.mx-5cup.com. Like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/MazdaMX5Cup and follow us on Twitter and Instagram @MazdaMX5Cup.

Event Entry List
#, Driver / Hometown, Sponsors, Car
6, Timothy Paul/Mahopac, NY, ALARA Racing/Cellmark MX-5
8, Nathaniel Sparks/Spanish Fort, AL, OOTSK Performance/Sick Sideways/Bimmerworld MX-5
11, Ara Malkhassian/Houston, TX, ALARA Racing MX-5
12, Kenton Koch/Glendora, CA, ALARA Racing/Mazda Motorsports/BFGoodrich Tires MX-5
16, John Dean/Sebring, FL, Projections Research/PPG MX-5
17, Lucas Catania/Cazenovia, NY, Atlanta Motorsports Group/NY Spine & Wellness/SOS MX-5
18, Joseph Catania/Cazenovia, NY, Atlanta Motorsports Group/NY Spine & Wellness/SOS MX-5
19, Timothy Reger/Houston, TX, X-Factor Racing MX-5
20, Chris Haldeman/Princeton, TX, X-Factor Racing MX-5
23, Christian Tetzlaff/Athens, GA, Lanier Tech/MAZDASPEED MX-5
27, Brandon Kidd/Manlius, NY, Monticello Motor Club MX-5
28, Patrick Gallagher/Thornville, OH, MedBuild/Henry Schein/ModSpace MX-5
29, Joey Bickers/Moorpark, CA, Mazda Motorsports/BFGoodrich Tires MX-5
35, Devin Jones/Mooresville, NC, Veristor MX-5
48, Michael Cooper/Syosset, NY, Atlanta Motorsports Group MX-5
49, Sebastian Landy/Great Falls, VA, Excitations.com/Atlanta Motorsports Group MX-5
51, Austin Snader, Brookeshire, TX, X-Factor Racing MX-5
79, Spencer Patterson/Pittsburgh, PA, Jim Locke Automotive MX-5

60, Zach Lee/San Antonio, TX, SBMX-5
61, Ben Albano/Greenwich, CT, SBMX-5
63, Bryan Hixon/San Antonio, TX, Blackmore Partners/xBorder Foods SBMX-5
65, Felix Borodaty/Short Hills, NJ, SBMX-5
93, Robby Foley/Randolph, NJ, SBMX-5
94, Sarah Montgomery/Lafayette, LA, Travel Lafayette, LA/Acadian Pawn SBMX-5
99, Drake Kemper/Toluca Lake, CA, SBMX-5

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