Christian Szymczak won Round Three of the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup doubleheader at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Elliott Skeer crossed the line in second, followed by John Dean.
Szymczak, in the No. 34 ALARA Racing MX-5, set himself up for a clean sweep at the 11-Turn, 2.238-mile Mazda Raceway, with a 9.5-second gap. Szymczak was the fastest in qualifying and each of the practice sessions this weekend preceding the win in the 58.118-mile race with an average speed of 78.220mph.
Szymczak was quick to observe that being fast at Mazda Raceway is not easy.
“This is a pretty tough track,” Szymczak said. “It's very demanding, and you can't relax very much. There's no straightaways, there's not a whole lot of drafting going on. The lack of drafting allows you to sometimes check out from the front, which is what I was able to do today. It was a good result for me and the team, so I'm pretty happy.
“The only focus we have now is to get through the race tomorrow cleanly. That's our main focus, to get as many points as we can if it's not possible to win, but hopefully we can.”
Skeer, driving the No. 17 Pelican Replacement Windows/ZoomZoomNation.com/Alpinestars MX-5, had a good points day, finishing on the second step of the podium. Skeer was happy with the finish, but is looking forward to the getting back out for Saturday's race.
“It was a good run,” Skeer said. “The car felt good for most of it. I was able to hang with Christian for the first few laps, and then the front tires started to go away. I picked up a little bit of understeer and he just slowly drove away.
“It was a good race. I can't wait for tomorrow, hopefully for one more result.”
Dean, driving the No. 16 Projections Research/PPG MX-5, was able to bounce back from a mechanical failure suffered in qualifying.
“We had a difficult day yesterday,” Dean said. “I broke a differential and it did a bunch of damage under the car. There was some back and forth with the officials about my qualifying lap. I started sixth today, and I think that was the right decision, but it still leaves me dead last tomorrow.
“This is exactly where we thought we could finish today, and if we can do this again that would be amazing. We'll see how it goes, tomorrow should at least be a fun race.”
Patrick Gallagher finished just off the podium in fourth. Gallagher, in the No. 28 MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development MX-5, battled with Ara Malkhassian for 13 laps, eventually taking the fourth position on lap 20.
Malkhassian was able to hold on to the fifth spot, in his No. 11 ALARA Racing/ALARA Garage MX-5. He was able to recover from tough start, dropping from third on the grid to seventh at the completion of lap one.
Kenton Koch led from start to finish in the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Series class. Koch led Lucas Bize and Robby Foley to the line, in that order.
The top three drivers in the championship stay the same following the conclusion of this race. Szymczak leads with 193 points, with Skeer 25 points behind. Dean sits in third with 163 points.
Round Four of the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup is slated to take place on Saturday at 8:40 a.m. (PDT).
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Provisional results from Friday's 26-lap, 58.188-mile SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup Round Three race 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, (1), Christian Szymczak, Palos Verdes, Calif., MX-5, 26.
2. MX, (2), Elliott Skeer, Vista, Calif., MX-5, 26, -9.546.
3. MX, (6), John Dean II, Sebring, Fla., MX-5, 26, -12.133.
4. MX, (4), Patrick Gallagher(R), Thornville, Ohio, MX-5, 26, -17.679.
5. MX, (3), Ara Malkhassian, Houston, Texas, MX-5, 26, -20.242.
6. MX, (5), Nathanial Sparks, Spanish Fort, Ala., MX-5, 26, -20.436.
7. MX, (7), Russell Walker, Dallas, Texas, MX-5, 26, -34.234.
8. MX, (11), Scott Phillips(R), Tucson, Ariz., MX-5, 26, -50.900.
9. MX, (10), Tim Probert, Houston, Texas, MX-5, 26, -1:10.504.
10. MX, (14), Harrison Williams, Houston, Texas, MX-5, 26, -1:15.435.
11. MX, (12), Brent Mosing, Lafayette, La., MX-5, 26, -1:15.925.
12. MX, (9), Bryan Hixon(R), San Antonio, Texas, MX-5, 26, -1:16.494.
13. MX, (13), Steve Bottom, Newport Beach, Calif., MX-5, 26, -1:17.397.
14. MX, (15), Emilee Tominovich, Clarksville, Md., MX-5, 25, -1 lap.
15. MX, (17), Tad Segars(R), Hilton Head, S.C., MX-5, 25, -1 lap.
16. MX, (8), James Vance(R), Toronto, Ontario, MX-5, 14, Mech.
17. MX, (16), Charles Paquin, Ottawa, Ontario, MX-5, 7, Mech.
18. SBMX, (18), Kenton Koch, Glendora, Calif., Barber MX-5, 26.
19. SBMX, (19), Lucas Bize, New York, N.Y., Barber MX-5, 26, -7.834.
20. SBMX, (21), Robby Foley, Randolph, N.J., Barber MX-5, 26, -8.433.
21. SBMX, (20), Drake Kemper, Toluca Lake, Calif., Barber MX-5, 26, -14.941.
22. SBMX, (23), Russell Muck, Grosse Pointe, Mich., Barber MX-5, 25, -1 lap.
23. SBMX, (25), Cal Meeker, Oceanside, Calif., Barber MX-5, 25, -1 lap.
24. SBMX, (24), David Knight, Ludlow, Vt., Barber MX-5, 25, -1 lap.
25. SBMX, (22), Greg Holloway, Melbourne Australia, Barber MX-5, 25, -1 lap.
26. SBMX, (26), Fred Chin, Henderson, Nev., Barber MX-5, 25, -1 lap.