Elliott Skeer wins again in Sunday’s Round Eight race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Christian Szymczak finished second, followed by John Dean.
Driving the No. 17 Pelican Replacement Windows/ZoomZoomNation.com/Alpinestars MX-5, Skeer was able to counter Szymczak’s Round Seven win on Saturday with a last-lap pass following a restart.
The 45-minute timed race covered 25 laps, averaging 78.920 mph on the 10-turn, 2.459-mile road course, but was slowed by two full-course cautions totaling six laps. The second caution period, which was a result of the No.68 SBMX-5 of Bryan Silas contacting the Turn Two retaining wall, proved to have the most influence on the finish.
Following five laps under the yellow flag and the time period drawing to a close, series officials decided the course was safe to go green, resulting in a one-lap shootout to the checkered flag.
On the restart, Skeer sat second behind then-leader Szymczak. Skeer used the draft to make the outside pass of the No. 17 ALARA Racing MX-5 of Szymczak stick going through Turn Eight. From there, Skeer kept it clean to cross the line in first.
“At this place, the draft keeps everybody together, and today proved that,” Skeer said. “Everyone stayed together going down the back straight, and it’s just a war waging out there. We knew we had to battle with Christian [Szymczak] to keep him at bay. We couldn’t just let him get away out front.
“The cautions really helped me out. The car was great on the short runs, but not very good on the long runs. Having those two short runs late in the race saved me. I was trying to get a good run out of Turn Five every lap, but felt there was always some little mistake I was making. But, I got it right on the last lap and got the tow, a lot like what happened at Sebring, and was able to pop out to make the pass on the outside of Turn Eight.”
Szymczak took home his third second-place trophy this season. While he had led 18 laps, Szymczak was satisfied with the hard-fought finish.
“This race was a lot different from yesterday,” Szymczak said. “There was a lot of close racing and a lot of dicing that was going on.”
“Before the first yellow, I thought we were doing pretty well. On the restarts we seemed to be on the back foot, and on the last on Elliott was just able to get enough of a draft and get around on the outside of me going through Turn Eight. It was a good move on his part. It was a great way to end the weekend, a really exciting race. I don’t think there was too much else I could have done on that last restart, it was just his race.”
Dean completed the podium and was in contention the entire race, having even led twice at the line. Dean’s No. 16 Projections Research/Sick Sideways MX-5 took the final green flag in third and was able to hold the position, fending off the charging James Vance.
“This race was a lot of fun,” Dean said. “A second and a third at my favorite track isn’t bad. I lead a couple laps in there, and we also had some crazy maneuvers going on. There was a lot of side-by-side action in corners that were over 100 mph. It was just a lot of fun.
“We missed the setup this weekend, a little, which was unfortunate. Hopefully, we’ll pick it up at Coronado, because I need to make up some points. I can’t keep letting these guys beat me.
Vance, from just an hour away in Toronto, put on a showfor the crowd, finishing fourth from his ninth-place starting position. The top-five finish in the No. 21 Exposystems MX-5 was an improvement on the last-place finish from Saturday, as a result of a sheared drive shaft that left the car inoperable on the starting grid.
Nathanial Sparks, in the No. 8 OOTSK PERFORMANCE/Sick Sideways MX-5 brought his car home fifth, his third top-five of the season.
Ara Malkhassian lowered his previous race lap record of 1:36.715 (90.594 mph), set during Saturday’s Round Seven, to 1:35.998 (92.214 mph). Malkhassian drove the No. 11 ALARA Racing MX-5 to an eight-place finish.
Drake Kemper, of Toluca Lake, Calif., broke through to win his first Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge race, driving the No. 99 Royal Rugby SBMX-5, ending Kenton Koch’s win streak at seven. Kemper also set a new race-lap record at 1:37.355 (90.929 mph).
“The cautions definitely helped me,” Kemper said. “The cautions kept happening because everyone was skating around from the debris left over from the previous races. The American Le Mans Series cars put down some really weird rubber lines that our tires weren’t really working on. Everyone was just hunting to find grip wherever they could.
“Once I put a Mazda MX-5 Cup car between me and the rest of the field, it was game over from there, because of the draft.”
Robby Foley, of Randolph, N.J., finished second, followed by the No. 97 Jacuzzi SBMX-5, driven by David Knight, of Ludlow, Vt., in third.
Szymczak leaves CTMP with the Mazda MX-5 Cup championship lead, after collecting 468 points. Skeer sit second only six markers behind. Dean keeps himself in the fight, with 424 points on the season.
Following a sixth place finish in Sunday’s Round Eight, Koch still leads the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge championship with 501 points. Kemper gained some ground with the win, but still sits second, trailing by 83 markers. Foley leaves CTMP third, with a collection of 415 championship points.
The SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup will be back in action Sept. 20-22 in Southern California for the Coronado Speed Fest, part of the Fleet Week San Diego festivities.
BOWMANVILLE, Ont. – Results from Sunday’s 25-lap, 61.475-mile SCCA Pro Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup Round Eight race, part of the Mobil1 SportsCar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, with finishing position, class, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, purse, laps and reason out (if any).