Christian Szymczak snatched the pole position for Round Seven of the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Elliott Skeer will start second, followed by John Dean.
While Szymczak winning the pole in the No. 32 ALARA Racing MX-5 is nothing new, the way in which he captured the spot is noteworthy. Szymczak has now captured pole position in each of the season's seven rounds, and his typical pole run, thus far, consisted of setting a few blazing laps in the opening minutes of the session then waiting for time to expire. This time, Szymczak was the pursuer.
In the closing minutes of the 30-minute session, Szymczak found the 0.015 second needed to take the position away from Skeer, who was on the provisional pole for a majority of the session. Szymczak's clutch performance was realized on lap 11 of the 12 he turned during the session, stopping the clock at 1:36.425 (91.780mph) at the 10-turn, 2.459-mile road course.
“It was, obviously, a very close qualifying session out there, closer than it's been all year,” Szymczak said. “Six guys were battling it out for a few tenths. I'm ecstatic to get the pole.
“As for the race tomorrow, I think it's going to be a very hard-fought battle. Different tactics will unfold as we get out there for the race, making it very hard to predict what will happen. One thing you can be certain of is that it will be a very tough fight.”
Skeer set the early pace driving the No. 17 Pelican Replacement Windows/ZoomZoomNation.com/Alpinestars MX-5, putting down a time of 1:36.467 (91.766mph) on his second lap.
“We made some progress with the car, and we feel like it's there,” Skeer said. “We did a mock race run earlier in the day, just to feel it out. This is the first time we really went for it. We didn't pick up as much time on the sticker tires as I was hoping, but it seems like everyone else was in the same boat.
“To lead qualifying early like that, and have Christian [Szymczak] take it away by such a miniscule amount, is a little heartbreaking. But, we know that the big points day is tomorrow. It will be a close battle, because it looks like five or six guys could win it.”
Dean will start Saturday's Round Seven from third, logging a fast time of 1:36.573 (91.665mph) in the No. 16 Projections Research/Sick Sideways MX-5. While the time was slower than his best time in practice, he was only 0.1 second off the pole speed.
“I was pretty optimistic leading into this race,” Dean said. “We were on some very old tires in practice, and made it work well there. Putting the new tires on before qualifying caused the nose of the car not to work as well. It may have hurt us a little bit, but it's been a long time since I've been up on the grid, in qualifying. It will be nice starting somewhere that I can battle for the lead early.”
Patrick Gallagher set the fourth-quickest time of 1:36.755 (91.493 mph), in the No. 28 MAZDASPEED/Howard Concrete Pumping/CTL Engineering MX-5.
Gallagher, one of six rookies in the field, was joined in the top-five by another classmate, Sebastian Landy. Landy set a time of 1:36.759 (91.489 mph) behind the wheel of the No. 49 Excitations.com MX-5, which was good enough for fifth.
Following an overnight gearbox change, Kenton Koch set a new qualifying-lap record in the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge en route to securing the pole position for Saturday's race. He completed the circuit in 1:38.875 (89.531 mph) in the No. 63 Skip Barber Racing School MX-5.
“The qualifying session went pretty well,” Koch said. “The track was starting to get greasy near the end. The first two laps I had were pretty good, but I felt like I made a few mistakes.
“I decided to pull into the pits to let my tires cool down a bit. Once they were cool, I went back out and did the exact same time as my first two laps. So, I pulled it in and shut the engine off.”
Drake Kemper stopped the clock at 1:39.413 (89.046 mph), which was enough to start second in class, in the No. 99 Royal Rugby MX-5. Robby Foley completed the top-three with a time of 1:39.544 (88.929 mph).
Round Seven, scheduled for Saturday at 7:10 p.m. (EDT), and Round Eight, scheduled for Sunday at 5:15 p.m. (EDT), will complete the action on both days.
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BOWMANVILLE, Ont. - Starting lineup for Saturday's SCCA Pro Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup SCCA PRO PLAYBOY Mazda MX-5 Cup Round Seven race, part of the Mobil1 SportsCar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, 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, 1:36.452, 91.780.
2, MX, (17), Elliott Skeer, Vista, Calif., MX-5, 1:36.467, 91.766.
3, MX, (16), John Dean II, Sebring, Fla., MX-5, 1:36.573, 91.665.
4, MX, (28), Patrick Gallagher(R), Thornville, Ohio, MX-5, 1:36.755, 91.493.
5, MX, (49), Sebastian Landy(R), Great Falls, Va., MX-5, 1:36.759, 91.489.
6, MX, (11), Ara Malkhassian, Houston, Texas, MX-5, 1:37.092, 91.175.
7, MX, (8), Nathanial Sparks, Spanish Fort, Ala., MX-5, 1:37.478, 90.814.
8, MX, (9), Jeff Mosing, Austin, Texas, MX-5, 1:37.734, 90.576.
9, MX, (41), Forrest Landy(R), Great Falls, Va., MX-5, 1:37.935, 90.390.
10, MX, (21), James Vance(R), Toronto, Ontario, MX-5, 1:38.019, 90.313.
11, MX, (00), Harrison Williams, Houston, Texas, MX-5, 1:38.333, 90.024.
12, MX, (18), Daniel Bender, Glencoe, Ill., MX-5, 1:38.405, 89.958.
13, MX, (20), George Jackson(R), Houston, Texas, MX-5, 1:38.545, 89.831.
14, MX, (10), Brent Mosing, Lafayette, La., MX-5, 1:38.621, 89.761.
15, MX, (38), Chris Windsor, Thurmont, Md., MX-5, 1:38.934, 89.477.
16, MX, (12), Bryan Hixon(R), San Antonio, Texas, MX-5, 1:39.136, 89.295.
17, MX, (27), Charles Paquin, Ottawa, Ontario, MX-5, 1:40.604, 87.992.
18, MX, (13), Randall Posejpal(R), Houston, Texas, MX-5, 1:40.712, 87.898.
1, SBMX, (63), Kenton Koch, Glendora, Calif., Barber MX-5, 1:38.875, 89.531.
2, SBMX, (99), Drake Kemper, Toluca Lake, Calif., Barber MX-5, 1:39.413, 89.046.
3, SBMX, (93), Robby Foley, Randolph, N.J., Barber MX-5, 1:39.544, 88.929.
4, SBMX, (60), Lucas Bize, New York, N.Y., Barber MX-5, 1:39.557, 88.918.
5, SBMX, (97), David Knight, Ludlow, Vt., Barber MX-5, 1:40.015, 88.510.
6, SBMX, (68), Bryan Silas, Stuart, Fla., Barber MX-5, 1:40.024, 88.502.
7, SBMX, (95), Russell Muck, Grosse Pointe, Mich., Barber MX-5, 1:40.886, 87.746.
8, SBMX, (90), Fred Chin, Henderson, Nev., Barber MX-5, 1:42.391, 86.456.
9, SBMX, (69), Greg Holloway, Melbourne Australia, Barber MX-5, no time.