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Szymczak Set Fastest Lap During Opening Mazda MX-5 Cup
Posted by: newsla on Jun 28, 2014 - 06:23 AM
Sports Cars
Szymczak Set Fastest Lap During Opening Mazda MX-5 Cup

Christian Szymczak, of Palos Verdes, California, stopped the clock with the quickest time in preparation for Round Five of the SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires, part of the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston at NRG Park. Kenton Koch, of Glendora, California, and John Dean, of Sebring, Florida, completed the top three positions.


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While Szymczak will not compete in either of the two races at the Grand Prix of Houston, he showed no lack of pace in his No. 34 ALARA Racing MX-5 setting a 1:23.456 (73.332 mph). After winning last year’s Mazda MX-5 Championship last year, Szymczak is putting in some time behind the wheel of a race car in preparation for next season when he is schedule to utilize his Mazda Scholarship funds.

“The course started out really slick,” Szymczak said. “That may affect what we do with the car, moving forward. The curbs seem really harsh, a lot more than last year. I’ll have to talk with the engineers to see what we can do as the weekend progresses. We’ll see how the cars hold up since we’re really putting a beating on them out there.”

At the controls of the No. 12 ALARA Racing/Mazda Motorsports/BFGoodrich Tires MX-5, Koch put in the second quickest lap of the session at 1:23.807 (73.025 mph). Early in the session Koch took it easy, but learned the course quickly and put down a quick lap during the closing laps of the session.

“I think we have a little bit of time left, on the table,” Koch said. “There were a couple times I came close to the wall, and even one time I scraped the wall with my tire. I had to get it out of the way early in the first practice.

“The car is working really well. We tested a couple weeks ago and really focused on our street course setup. I think we have something that will be good for the rest of the weekend. There are a couple tweaks we can make, but the car is solid.”

Dean, the Championship point leader, was third quick with a time of 1:24.259 (72.633 mph). On the No. 16 Projections Research/PPG MX-5, Dean is trying a completely new setup that is completely different than the one used last year at this event.

“We’ve done a lot of work to figure out what is going to work best before coming out here,” Dean said. “After last year, even with only two sessions, we knew it was going to be bumpy. We have a completely different setup on the car. It’s a lot different than what we’re used to. I thought the car was working really well, under me.”

Michael Cooper, of Syossett, New York, finished the session in fourth by setting a fast lap of 1:24.460 (72.460 mph). This weekend’s event will mark the first full race the 2011 Mazda MX-5 Champion will run his first full race weekend since winning the title.

Timothy Reger, of Houston, was fifth fastest in the session with a best time of 1:25.216 (71.817 mph). Driving the No. 19 X-Factor Racing MX-5, he set his fast lap late in the session.

In the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge class, Drake Kemper, of Toluca Lake, California, was the top driver. He stopped the clock at 1:26.091 (71.087 mph) while driving the No. 99 Royal Rugby SBMX-5.

“Coming into this weekend I was a little worried,” Kemper said. “I didn’t do that well in practice. We had a lot of problems with the brakes going out quickly. The first goal was just survival, at this point. I’m glad the whole session went green. I’m just feeling comfortable, right now.”

Ben Albano, of Greenwich, Connecticut, brought the No. 61 Project Yellow Light SBMX-5 home in the second position with a fast lap of 1:27.013 (70.334 mph). Robby Foley, of Randolph, New Jersey, completed the top three with a lap of 1: 27.086 (70.275 mph).

The SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires is on track for their second practice session, preceding Round Five, later today at 3:00 p.m. (CDT). Qualifying for the doubleheader weekend is scheduled for June 28, at 8:30 a.m. (CDT), with Round Five starting at 12:10 p.m. (CDT). Round Six is slated to take place on June 29, at noon (CDT).

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.

HOUSTON - Results from Practice Session One for Saturday's SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires Round Five race, part of the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston, with position, class, car number in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, fastest lap time, and speed in miles per hour.

1, MX, (34), Christian Szymczak, Palos Verdes, Calif., MX-5, 1:23.456, 73.332.
2, MX, (12), Kenton Koch(R), Glendora, Calif., MX-5, 1:23.807, 73.025.
3, MX, (16), John Dean II, Sebring, Fla., MX-5, 1:24.259, 72.638.
4, MX, (48), Michael Cooper, Syossett, N.Y., MX-5, 1:24.460, 72.460.
5, MX, (19), Timothy Reger(R), Houston, Texas, MX-5, 1:25.216, 71.817.
6, MX, (29), Joey Bickers(R), Moorpark, Calif., MX-5, 1:25.272, 71.770.
7, MX, (6), Timothy Paul(R), Mahopac, N.Y., MX-5, 1:25.305, 71.742.
8, MX, (35), Devin Jones(R), Mooresville, N.C., MX-5, 1:25.499, 71.579.
9, MX, (8), Nathanial Sparks, Spanish Fort, Ala., MX-5, 1:25.556, 71.532.
10, MX, (11), Ara Malkhassian, Houston, Texas, MX-5, 1:25.703, 71.409.
11, MX, (17), Lucas Catania(R), Cazenovia, N.Y., MX-5, 1:26.020, 71.146.
12, MX, (51), Austin Snader(R), Brookshire, Texas, MX-5, 1:26.704, 70.585.
13, MX, (49), Sebastian Landy, Great Falls, Va., MX-5, 1:27.290, 70.111.
14, MX, (27), Brandon Kidd, Manlius, N.Y., MX-5, 1:27.738, 69.753.
15, MX, (20), Chris Haldeman(R), Princeton, Texas, MX-5, 1:27.780, 69.719.
16, MX, (23), Christian Tetzlaff, Athens, Ga., MX-5, 1:27.784, 69.716.
17, MX, (28), Patrick Gallagher, Thornville, Ohio, MX-5, 1:28.616, 69.062.
18, MX, (79), Spencer Patterson(R), Pittsburgh, Pa., MX-5, 1:28.779, 68.935.
19, MX, (18), Joseph Catania(R), Cazenovia, N.Y., MX-5, 1:29.388, 68.465.

1, SBMX, (99), Drake Kemper, Toluca Lake, Calif., SB MX-5, 1:26.091, 71.087.
2, SBMX, (61), Ben Albano, Greenwich, Conn., SB MX-5, 1:27.013, 70.334.
3, SBMX, (93), Robby Foley, Randolph, N.J., SB MX-5, 1:27.086, 70.275.
4, SBMX, (60), Zach Lee, San Antonio, Texas, SB MX-5, 1:27.335, 70.075.
5, SBMX, (63), Bryan Hixon, San Antonio, Texas, SB MX-5, 1:27.817, 69.690.
6, SBMX, (94), Sarah Montgomery, Lafayette, La., SB MX-5, 1:27.894, 69.629.
7, SBMX, (65), Felix Borodaty, Short Hills, N.J., SB MX-5, 1:33.950, 65.141.

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