Hometown Dean Rules MX-5 Cup
SEBRING, Fla. — John Dean knew he had a lot of friends and family watching at his hometown track and he didn’t disappoint them.
Dean drove to the emotional victory in front of supporters in round two of the SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup Friday morning at Sebring Int’l Raceway as part of the 62nd annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida.
Kenton Koch finished second, followed by Dean Copeland.
Dean claimed the 0.542-second win over Koch, following a second-place finish in Thursday’s opening round of the series.
The race was slowed to an average of 73.438 mph around the 17-turn, 2.74-mile permanent airport course due to a four-lap caution period brought out when Johan Schwartz and Zach Lee collided in turn three on lap six.
It was Dean’s second victory at the circuit in Mazda MX-5 Cup competition. Dean led the first 12 laps. On lap 13, Copeland took over the top spot, but his lead was short lived as Dean recaptured the position and held off his pursuer for the win.
“It’s so much fun to be able to win in front of my friends and family,” Dean said. “Yesterday was a bit of a bummer. I really wanted to win, but that just made me push harder today. I went back to the drawing board, talked to the BFGoodrich guys a bit, and was able to find a setting that was able to make the tire work today.
“Dean Copleland had a fantastic race, today. He got up there and it’s always fun to race with him because he’s clean, but very aggressive,” Dean continued. “That added some additional character to the top three. In the end, it may have helped me out that he was toward the front.”
Driving the No. 12 Mazda Motorsports Development MX-5, Koch was in a position to repeat his win from Thursday. For all but two laps, Koch was lurking in second waiting to pounce if the opportunity arose.
However, passing the determined Dean, while holding back the charging Copeland, proved to be unfeasible.
“I was really hoping there wasn’t going to be a caution,” Koch said. “I was nipping at Dean’s heels for the first part of the race. It really came down to who was going to make the least number of mistakes.
“Once I got in a rhythm, I started to reel Dean in but the caution allowed Copeland to get back into the mix and it became a four-way battle for the lead, like yesterday.”
Koch made a last-lap pass to claim second, just in front of Copeland, who scored his first podium of the season.
Driving the No. 41, Sebastian Landy finished fourth followed by Andrew Charbonneau.
1. MX, (1), John Dean II, Sebring, Fla., MX-5, $3750, 15.
2. MX, (3), Kenton Koch(R), Glendora, Calif., MX-5, $2750, 15, -.542.
3. MX, (5), Dean Copeland, Bowie, Md., MX-5, $2250, 15, -.638.
4. MX, (2), Sebastian Landy, Great Falls, Va., MX-5, $2000, 15, -.823.
5. MX, (6), Andrew Charbonneau, Delray Beach, Fla., MX-5, $1750, 15, -2.039.
6. MX, (7), Ara Malkhassian, Houston, Texas, MX-5, $1650, 15, -2.107.
7. MX, (14), Patrick Gallagher, Thornville, Ohio, MX-5, $1550, 15, -2.516.
8. MX, (10), Joey Bickers(R), Moorpark, Calif., MX-5, $1450, 15, -2.977.
9. MX, (13), Lucas Catania(R), Cazenovia, N.Y., MX-5, $1350, 15, -3.583.
10. MX, (12), Devin Jones(R), Mooresville, N.C., MX-5, $1250, 15, -4.547.
11. MX, (8), Timothy Reger(R), Houston, Texas, MX-5, 15, -7.517.
12. MX, (11), Dillon Machavern(R), Charlotte, Vt., MX-5, 15, -8.233.
13. MX, (9), Daniel Bender, Glencoe, Ill., MX-5, 15, -8.798.
14. MX, (4), Nathanial Sparks, Spanish Fort, Ala., MX-5, 15, -9.004.
15. MX, (15), Tim Probert, Houston, Texas, MX-5, 15, -9.523.
16. MX, (19), Brent Mosing, Lafayette, La., MX-5, 15, -13.969.
17. MX, (21), Beth Chryst, Herndon, Va., MX-5, 15, -14.137.
18. MX, (16), Timothy Paul(R), Mahopac, N.Y., MX-5, 15, -16.182.
19. MX, (22), Joseph Catania(R), Cazenovia, N.Y., MX-5, 15, -19.351.
20. MX, (17), Ethan Low(R), Clearwater, Fla., MX-5, 15, -22.588.
21. MX, (20), Christian Tetzlaff, Athens, Ga., MX-5, 15, -24.066.
22. MX, (24), Charles Paquin, Ottawa, Ontario, MX-5, 15, -28.340.
23. MX, (26), Jason Cherry(R), Gambrills, Md., MX-5, 15, -40.129.
24. MX, (23), Spencer Patterson(R), Pittsburgh, Pa., MX-5, 15, -1:20.607.
25. MX, (18), Chris Haldeman(R), Princeton, Texas, MX-5, 6, Mech.
26. MX, (25), Ernie Francis(R), Miami, Fla., MX-5, 15, -8.623, DQ.