BOWMANVILLE, Ontario – Kenton Koch led Saturday’s round seven SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires race from start to finish, as part of the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Nathanial Sparks and Patrick Gallagher completed the podium.
In his No. 12 ALARA Racing/Mazda Motorsports/BFGoodrich Tires MX-5, Koch made a clean start to take the lead into Turn One of the 45-minute race that averaged 83.631 mph around the 10-turn, 2.459-mile circuit. The race was slowed by a full-course yellow that lasted four laps as a result of James Vance stalling on the start.
On the lap five restart, Koch led the field to the green and never looked back. With Sparks in tow, Koch and Sparks separated themselves from the rest of the field.
“Sparky [Nathanial Sparks] and I had a really good run out there,” Koch said. “We were able to work together to gap the rest of the pack. That made our job a lot easier. I was content with either first or second, since John was a little further back. I’m just focusing on staying clean and getting the most points I can.
“When the yellow flag came out, I got really lucky. I knew I was going to need to do something really special coming out of turn five to keep Sparks behind me at the end of the straight. He [Sparks] really did a great job.”
Sparks, driving the No. 8 OOTSK Performance/Bimmerworld MX-5, notched his third consecutive podium of the season. Sparks was able to stay glued to Koch’s bumper throughout the entire 26-lap race. En route to his second-place finish, Sparks reset the race-lap record to 1:35.473 (92.721 mph).
“Kenton’s [Koch] car and mine were working very similarly the whole time,” Sparks said. “We were fast in many of the same places, especially coming out of turn five. On the back straight we were able to run very efficiently, allowing us to pull away from the other guys battling further back.
“I was pushing Koch to make a mistake, but we both just ran solidly. It’s what you expect from the caliber of driver we have in this series.”