TOPEKA, Kan. – Any athlete’s rookie season is usually difficult.
However, the fresh crop of new drivers who joined the SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires have been up to the task as they approach the mid-way point of 2014.
Getting used to a new, unfamiliar level of competition can be difficult. For many of the drivers in the Mazda MX-5 Cup, this is their first experience in the ranks of professional racing.
Between the Mazda MX-5 Cup ranks and the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge lineup, the series features 13 rookies.
Each has faced their own set of individual challenges while making good showings each of the season’s first four races.
Kenton Koch, of Glendora, Calif., currently sits second in the Championship standings, and is well within the hunt to capture the Mazda Motorsports scholarship that will go to the season-ending point leader. Koch stepped up to the Cup class after last season’s dominating performance in the Pro Challenge. Even with two wins under his belt, Koch still says he has some learning to do this year.
“I’m feeling pretty good so far about how the season has progressed,” Koch said. “I’ve had a steep learning curve, so far, and feel that after rounds three and four that I’m mentally prepared, as well as physically prepared. The second half of the season is where we will really come alive.”
Koch made the point that his performance this season has been spectacular, thus far. However, like any racecar driver he’s not satisfied until he’s standing at the top of the podium.
“I was expecting to be near the front, but to have two wins and two second-place finishes was completely unexpected,” Koch said. “I really feel I have a really good shot at the championship.”
Another rookie driver in the mix during this year’s Mazda MX-5 Cup battle is Devin Jones, of Mooresville, N.C. With a background in kart racing, Jones is not a stranger to road course racing. However, his most recent foray into motorsports was while racing stockcars. The switch to a new form of racing is not an easy thing to do.