HOUSTON – Kenton Koch put on a clinic en route to his win in round five of the SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires at NRG Park.
John Dean finished second, followed by his Sick Sideways Racing teammate Nathanial Sparks.
In his No. 12 ALARA Racing/Mazda Motorsports/BFGoodrich Tires MX-5, Koch made it look like an effortless victory as finished the race with a 23-second lead. However, it was anything but easy.
Hot and humid conditions in the city that sits on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico created difficult conditions. The exhaustion could be seen on the faces of each driver as they climbed from their racing machines. The podium finishers, while standing in a sweat-drenched driver suit, were barely able to bring forth a smile for the victory circle photos.
“The car was great,” Koch said. “The car was handling so good that I barely felt like I was exerting any energy, but the heat really gets to you. There’s no breeze coming into the car, even though it’s an open cockpit, because the windshield just blocks it all. The air just gets deflected around you, and with these conditions it took a toll on me.”
While finishing second, Dean’s No. 16 Projections Research/PPG MX-5 sustained damage as a result of the uneven surface of the street circuit. The damage forced him to keep from driving his car at the absolute limit.
“This track is just brutal,” Dean said. “By the second or third lap, the brake master cylinder went bad. I had to put my foot to the floor just to get the car to slowed down. It didn’t matter how early I braked, it just wasn’t going to slow the car down.
“It was a tough one and it makes me extremely happy to be on the podium with my teammate, Nathanial Sparks. This weekend is more about managing the Championship, and less about keeping the point lead. We just need to get to Canada in one piece.”