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Copeland Notches a Clean Sweep at Road America
Posted by: newsla on Aug 11, 2014 - 06:17 AM
Sports Cars
Copeland Notches a Clean Sweep at Road America

Dean Copeland, of Bowie, Maryland, doubled down at Road America by winning Round 10 of the SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires, part of the Road Race Showcase. Kenton Koch, of Glendora, California, and Nathanial Sparks, of Spanish Fort, Alabama, completed the podium.


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Copeland followed his win from Saturday with another, in his No. 7 Copeland Motorsports/Sync Speed Inc. MX-5. This race, which averaged 64.768 mph at the 14-turn, 4.048-mile permanent road course, was slowed by one full-course caution period that lasted one lap. The flag was flown after Ara Malkhassian collided with a track barrier between Turns One and Two. The driver was unhurt in the incident.

The battle at the front of the field was another close affair, like Saturday’s race. For much of the time, Copeland was part of a five-car scrum for the lead that included Koch, Sparks, John Dean and Sebastian Landy. On Lap 8, Landy ran off course on the outside of Turn Six, but was able to get back underway after going a couple laps down to the leaders. Dean then dropped from the lead battle after his car suffered a broken suspension component, forcing an early retirement from the race on Lap 10.

“I’m on top of the world,” Copeland said. “It’s almost like it was meant to be. We didn’t make the previous rounds this year because we had some other things going on at home. For me, it can’t get any better. This is my favorite track and I won both races. I don’t even know what to say, it’s awesome.

“The race actually got a little hairy. Going through Canada Corner, I went over the curb and bent something. My steering wheel was off about 70 degrees. I radioed my dad and told him that something was wrong. He told me that it didn’t matter, to just go and win.”

The opening laps of Koch’s race closely mirrored that of his run on Saturday. In the No. 12 ALRARA Racing/Mazda Motorsports/BFGoodrich Tires MX-5, he was quick off the start. Koch was the leader at the strip for the first eight laps of the race. Unlike Saturday’s race, Koch was able to keep himself in contention for the win until the checkered flag flew.

“I’m feeling really good, that’s for sure,” Koch said. “Dean Copeland was able to work with me the entire time, and we were able to make our way up to the front. I’m happy with how we finished. It was a really good points day.

“Yesterday, I didn’t have anyone to work with. I was trying to work with Dean Copeland, but with the way things worked out, it was hard for us to work together.

Until Dean’s mechanical failure, Sparks worked closely with his teammate. Racing with help from the draft, Sparks was able to get his No. 8 OOTSK Performance/Bimmerworld MX-5 to the front of the line and was scored as the leader on laps nine and 10. Following Dean’s retirement, it was an everyone-for-themselves battle for the win.

“Unfortunately, Dean had a ball joint failure and lost a tow link,” Sparks said. “But I managed to keep a good pace going. I had a great setup. My car was turning really well through Turn One, The Carousel and The Kink. Those are three of the most important places to keep your momentum going at this track.

“The two guys up front, Dean and Koch, were working well together and I needed to play a smart game to keep up with those guys. I’m feeling lucky to have finished where we did, but it would have been a bonus if the team had been able to finish with one more car since we had such good pace this weekend. To be honest I’m not used to being the guy standing on the podium twice in one weekend. We usually run strong and finish fifth, but it’s a great feeling to finish where we did.”

Lucas Catania brought his No. 17 Atlanta Motorsports Group/NY Spine & Wellness/SOS MX-5 home in fourth. Starting in eighth, Catania methodically worked his way forward and took the lead of the second drafting pack on the last lap.

Russell Walker completed the top five positions for Round 10. At the wheel of his No. 40 ExpoSystems MX-5, Walker quickly got embroiled in the position swapping going on in the second drafting pack. As the lead group created separation between themselves and the rest of the field, it became a fight to finish at the front of the particular pack in which each driver found them self.

In the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge, Drake Kemper, of Toluca Lake, California, came out on top in a very close race to the line with Ben Albano. After spitting the classes for the initial rolling start and the lap six restart, the leaders quickly caught up to the end of the Cup field and interspersed themselves in the traffic. When it came to the final lap, Kemper was able to use traffic in his No. 99 Royal Rugby SBMX-5 to his advantage and win the drag race, up the hill, from Turn 14 to the line.

“It was absolutely insane,” Kemper said. “That had to be the closest finish in Skip Barber Racing class history. We literally connected mirrors at the end. The side draft from the CJ Wilson car is what allowed me to win.

“The second we got out there, the track was really loose. On lap five, I had major contact with Bryan Hixon, which really messed up my car. I dropped back to fifth for about five laps, but somehow made it back up to the front. I couldn’t be more thrilled by coming to a track where I’ve never been and completing a clean sweep of the weekend.”

Albano, of Greenwich, Connecticut, finished just 0.007-second behind Kemper in his No. 61 Project Yellow Light SBMX-5. Lucas Bize, of New York, finished in third.

Koch held onto the Mazda MX-5 Cup Championship Point lead having amassed 609 points. Dean leaves Road America in the second position, 90 markers out of the lead. Landy also keeps station in the standings with 478 points, in third.

In the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge season-long standings, Kemper retains the lead with 580 points. Albano sits 26 markers behind, while Robby Foley is third, with 526 points.

The final event for the SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires will be part of the Petit LeMans Powered by Mazda, at Road Atlanta, Oct. 1-3.

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.

Results from Sunday's 16-lap, 64.768-mile SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires Round 10 race, part of the Road Race Showcase at Road America, with finishing position, class, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, purse, laps and reason out (if any).

1. MX, (3), Dean Copeland, Bowie, Md., MX-5, $3750, 16.
2. MX, (1), Kenton Koch(R), Glendora, Calif., MX-5, $2750, 16, -.145.
3. MX, (4), Nathanial Sparks, Spanish Fort, Ala., MX-5, $2250, 16, -.245.
4. MX, (8), Lucas Catania(R), Cazenovia, N.Y., MX-5, $2000, 16, -2.115.
5. MX, (7), Russell Walker, Dallas, Texas, MX-5, $1750, 16, -2.133.
6. MX, (11), Devin Jones(R), Mooresville, N.C., MX-5, $1650, 16, -14.283.
7. MX, (13), Forrest Landy(R), Great Falls, Va., MX-5, $1550, 16, -14.418.
8. MX, (12), Joey Bickers(R), Moorpark, Calif., MX-5, $1450, 16, -14.441.
9. MX, (10), Timothy Paul(R), Mahopac, N.Y., MX-5, $1350, 16, -15.950.
10. MX, (15), Joseph Catania(R), Cazenovia, N.Y., MX-5, $1250, 16, -33.822.
11. MX, (18), Tim Probert, Houston, Texas, MX-5, 16, -33.837.
12. MX, (17), Nick Igdalsky(R), Stroudsburg, Pa., MX-5, 16, -37.850.
13. MX, (19), Alex Ratcliff(R, Berryville, Va., MX-5, 16, -48.720.
14. MX, (14), Beth Chryst, Herndon, Va., MX-5, 16, -54.237.
15. MX, (5), Sebastian Landy(R), Great Falls, Va., MX-5, 12, -4 lap.
16. MX, (2), John Dean II, Sebring, Fla., MX-5, 10, -6 lap.
17. MX, (9), Patrick Gallagher, Thornville, Ohio, MX-5, 5, Mech.
18. MX, (6), Ara Malkhassian, Houston, Texas, MX-5, 2, Crash.
19. MX, (16), Brent Mosing, Lafayette, La., MX-5, 0, DNS.

1. SBMX, (20), Drake Kemper, Toluca Lake, Calif., SB MX-5, 16.
2. SBMX, (22), Ben Albano, Greenwich, Conn., SB MX-5, 16, -.007.
3. SBMX, (23), Lucas Bize, New York, N.Y., SB MX-5, 16, -1.109.
4. SBMX, (25), Bryan Hixon, San Antonio, Texas, SB MX-5, 16, -9.574.
5. SBMX, (21), Robby Foley, Randolph, N.J., SB MX-5, 16, -14.866.
6. SBMX, (24), Zach Lee, San Antonio, Texas, SB MX-5, 16, -14.878.
7. SBMX, (27), Felix Borodaty, Short Hills, N.J., SB MX-5, 16, -53.498.
8. SBMX, (28), Chris Beaufait, Freeland, Wash., SB MX-5, 16, -53.573.
9. SBMX, (26), Sarah Montgomery, Lafayette, La., SB MX-5, 15, Crash.

Time of race: 45 minutes, 00.198 seconds.
Average speed: 86.351 mph
Margin of victory: .145 Seconds
Lap leaders: Laps 1-8, #12 Kenton Koch(R); laps 9-10, #8 Nathanial Sparks; laps 11-16, #7 Dean Copeland
Fastest race lap: #29 Joey Bickers(R), 2:37.737 (92.386 mph)
Fastest qualifier: #12 Kenton Koch(R), 2:37.547 (92.498 mph)

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