Szymczak accepts top honors at Mazda MX-5 banquet

Szymczak accepts top honors at Mazda MX-5 banquet

Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup

Szymczak accepts top honors at Mazda MX-5 banquet

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From left to right, Kenton Koch, Christian Szymczak, John Dean, Patrick Gallagher and Elliott Skeer show off their trophies adorned in Playboy Hugh Heffner-style smoking jackets.

Credit: Alison Merion Padron 

Christian Szymczak, of Palos Verdes, Calif., was the man of the hour at the Sonesta Gwinnett Place, in Duluth, Ga., as he received his championship hardware for winning the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup. En route to winning the title, Szymczak scored four wins. He also scored the pole in 10 of 12 races.

 
In addition to winning the championship, Szymczak’s Houston-based ALARA Racing team took home Team of the Year honors. Szymczak led the team in the standings, but was followed by team principal Ara Malkhassian, Bryan Hixon and Brent Mosing, in positions six through eight. Harrison Williams who finished 10th, and Tim Probert in 12th, completed the team’s list of series regulars.
 
Elliott Skeer, of Carlsbad, Calif., received the runner-up trophy for strong run in 2013. He scored nine podiums, including five wins, but fell a mere four markers short of the championship in the final tally.
 
Sick Sideways teammates John Dean, of Sebring, Fla., and Nathanial Sparks, of Spanish Fort, Ala., finished the season third and fourth, respectively. Dean recorded six podiums, with two wins toward the end of the season at Coronado and Road Atlanta, equaling 607 points. Sparks had four top-five finishes, with one podium to his credit, ending the season 15 markers behind his teammate.
 
Additionally, the team was honored with the Spirit of Mazda Award for their exceptional dedication and hard work throughout the season. The tipping point that earned the team the award came during the three event span that saw the series travel from coast to coast, starting at Coronado, just outside of San Diego, and ending at Road Atlanta.
 
On the cross-country trip to California, Dean and Sparks elected to make the trip by themselves. Without the help of any support crew, they wore the hat of chief mechanic and driver at Coronado. It was much the same story for Houston, but there was some relief following a technical alliance brokered with Speedcraft Racing Development. At Road Atlanta, Dean and Sparks were joined by their normal support staff.
 
Patrick Gallagher, of Thornville, Ohio, finished fifth in the season-long standings with 485 points, which was enough to earn him Rookie of the Year honors as the highest finishing first-year driver.
 
Brent Mosing, of Lafayette, La., was the final Mazda MX-5 Cup honoree of the evening. He was awarded the Masters Award following an eighth-place finish in the standings. He compiled a record of three top-10s throughout his award-winning performance.
 
Kenton Koch, of Glendora, Calif., received his trophy for winning the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge championship after compiling 689 points with a record of 10 podiums, including nine wins, and 11 poles.
 
Lucas Bize, of New York, took home the runner-up hardware with 580 points, while Robby Foley, of Randolph, N.J., took home third, only five markers behind Bize.
 
Announcements regarding the 2014 SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup schedule will be made in the coming weeks.
 
Follow the Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup on Twitter @MazdaMX5Cup and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/48522898534.

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