Koch Pulls Off Mazda MX-5 Cup Sweep
HOUSTON – Kenton Koch two-stepped into back-to-back wins, after finishing Sunday’s race in the top position in the SCCA Pro Racing MX-5 Cup in support of the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston.
Nathanial Sparks and Sebastian Landy completed the podium.
The 25-lap race, which averaged 62.146 mph, was slowed by four laps run behind the pace car. The full-course yellow flag was displayed for the car of Austin Snader that was stranded in the middle of the course, just past Turn Five.
In the No. 12 ALARA Racing/Mazda Motorsports/BFGoodrich Tires MX-5, Koch started Sunday’s Round Six race on the pole position. On the rolling start, a change from the traditional standing one, Koch was able to hold off second-place driver John Dean in the opening corners. That allowed him to open some track between himself and Dean by the start of lap one.
“This is the first sweep for ALARA Racing this year,” Koch said. “The car just got faster and faster throughout the weekend. I was beating the living crap out of the car and it just kept going. It was great to see how this car and BFGoodrich tires held up.
“It wasn’t as humid today, and we put some driver cooling in the car, so that helped a lot. I was a little frustrated to see the full-course yellow flag come out. I thought it was going to hurt us, but we were able to hold them off.”
Sparks was able to take advantage of three-wide racing ahead of him to make some big moves up the standings. After restarting in sixth, on lap 22, Sparks was able to maneuver his No. 8 OOTSK Performance/Bimmerworld MX-5 to the second position by the time the checkered flag was shown.
“I started off the race by getting behind the two X-Factor Racing cars,” Sparks said. “They were the real show out there. They were out there pushing hard and nicking walls. I was dodging fenders and other stuff, but was able to keep my nose clean.
“This is such an aggressive track, and I’m more of the type of driver that will hang back and make the smart move. It can hurt me at some tracks, but it seems to be the way to go here. I’m not going to say I didn’t touch the wall, but I touched it less than some of the other drivers, which allowed me to get to the front of the field.”
Timothy Paul notched his first top-five in Mazda MX-5 Cup competition by bringing home a fourth-place finish in his No. 6 ALARA Racing/Cellmark MX-5.
Following Paul to the finish line was Timothy Reger. Reger scored his first top-five in the class and was the highest finishing driver from Texas during both rounds.
In the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge, Ben Albano took home the victory in Round Six.