BOWMANVILLE, Ontario – Christian Szymczak took the win in Saturday’s round seven of the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
John Dean came home second, followed by Elliott Skeer in third.
In a race that featured some very close running near the front, Szymczak was able to hold down the top position for 27 of 28 laps around the 10-turn, 2.459-mile road course. Starting on the pole in the No. 34 ALARA Racing MX-5, Szymczak held the lead of the race, which averaged 91.357 mph, until he was passed by Skeer on lap two. Szymczak retook the lead on lap three, and never looked back, scoring his first CTMP win.
“It was a tight race the whole way through,” Szymczak said. “The draft really came into play and everyone was able to run in a pack. It was very hectic. I found myself looking behind, trying to pay attention to where the guys were behind me. There was never a dull moment. I’m happy to get away with the win and keep the car clean.
“We were able to get a good feel for the car and what it will do throughout the race distance. We also got to see what everyone else is capable of. Those two things set our minds at ease going into tomorrow, because we have an idea of what to expect.”
Starting from the third position, Dean spent most of the race embroiled in a tight battle for third. On lap 24, while fighting for second, Skeer and Ara Malkhassian pushed wide going through turn eight, opening the door for Dean. Driving the No. 16 Projections Research/Sick Sideways MX-5, Dean took advantage of the opening, holding onto second position for the final four laps.
“On this track it is very difficult to pass,” Dean said. “The best thing to do was to fan out a little bit and try to pass that way. There was a bit of contact, and Ara [Malkhassian] ended up pushing Skeer wide in turn eight, which allowed me to make the pass.
“As the laps wound down, I was pushing hard, because I could see Skeer back there. We go into race two with a car that’s in once piece, with not much work to do, so that’s a blessing.”
In the No. 17 Pelican Replacement Windowns.com/ZoomZoomNation.com/Alpinestars MX-5, Skeer filled Szymczak’s mirrors for the first half of the race, staying within 0.2-second of the leader. On lap 19, Malkhassian got a run on Skeer, and made the pass for second stick. Five laps later, after going side-by-side with Malkhassian in Turn Eight, which allowed Dean past both drivers, Skeer slotted into fourth. He was ultimately able to get back around Malkhassian to complete the podium.