Mazda MX-5 Cup at Road America

The Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires reached the halfway point of the 2016 season with a Father’s Day doubleheader weekend at Road America.

The Mazda MX-5 Cup kicked off a new era for the series with an all new car this year. The first two doubleheader race weekends have seen close competition with four different winners. This past weekend the teams headed to the iconic and fan-favorite  Road America, in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, a mere 2.5 hour drive from Chicago.

Everything from showroom stock to highly modified purpose-built race cars from nine race groups filled four days of practice, qualifying and racing at this year’s WeatherTech Chicago Region SCCA June Sprints.

Mazda was once again the dominate brand across the weekend, with more than 130 Mazda-powered race cars competing in the MX-5 Cup and nine different SCCA Club Racing classes. Mazda brand cars were over 37 percent of the more than 350 race cars competing.

The Road America 4.048 mile road course provided plenty of action with its technical layout and high speed sections allowing for close competition and frequent drafting.

In Saturday’s Round 5 race we saw 30 minutes of intense race action before finishing under yellow with Robby Foley (No. 63 Mazda Motorsports/Atlanta Motorsports Group) scoring the win, his second of the season.

An incident in turn one in the final 10 minutes of the race eliminated pole sitter John Dean II (No. 16 Mazda Motorsports/Sick Sideways Racing) and rookie Mark Drennan (No. 50 Performance) leaving Foley to fend off Nathanial Sparks (No. 8 Sick Sideways/OOTSK Performance) for the win.

Mazda Road to 24 scholarship driver Robby Foley (No. 63 Mazda Motorsports/Atlanta Motorsports group) took the win by 1.068 seconds followed by Nathanial Sparks (No. 8 Sick Sideways/OOTSK Performance) in second. Rounding out the podium was Drake Kemper (No. 99 Royal Rugby Boot Co./Sick Sideways) in third.

In Sunday’s Round 6 race, Nikko Reger (No. 01 Copeland Motorsports/Rockstar Wigs) from Houston, Texas, was able to fend off the pack and secure his second win of the season. The win moved him into fifth place in the season championship.

Reger started the race in pole position and did not look back. Combined with a round four win at Watkins Glen, he joins Robby Foley as a two-time winner this season.

With the most laps led, Reger’s performance seemed nothing short of dominant, but the win was far from easy as the lead draft rarely fell below five cars, and was often a freight-train of eight or more cars.

Series newcomer Tim Barber (No. 22 also had a stellar performance and narrowly missed the top spot by a mere 0.116 seconds. The top six finishers were covered by just 2.181 seconds. Dean Copeland rounded out the podium with a third place finish. His finish increases his points lead in the championship and the pursuit of the $200,000 Mazda Road to 24 scholarship.

After six races, Dean Copeland extends his points advantage by eight points. Copeland is yet to win a race but consistent podium finishes have allowed him to garner the most points in the series.

The top three overall in points are:
1. Dean Copeland, Bowie, MD Copeland Motorsports 311 points
2. Nathanial Sparks, Spanish Fort, AL Sick Sideways 303 points
3. Drake Kemper, Thermal, CA Sick Sideways 254 points

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Rounds seven and eight of the MX-5 Cup will be at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park during the IMSA weekend, July 8-10.


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