Malkhassian took the last step of the podium from John Dean, of Sebring, Fla., on a last-lap pass. Driving the No.11 ALARA Racing/ALARA Garage MX-5, Malkhassian had a good jump off the line, slotting in behind teammate Szymczak. Following the start, the rest of the field was able to catch up. After settling into fourth on lap 15, Malkhassian began working on the rear bumper of Dean for five laps, swapping positions back and forth with Dean, before completing the pass that stuck.
“The race started the way I wanted it to,” Malkhassian, who set the race’s fastest lap at 1:42.223 (78.816 mph), said. “I was able to tuck in behind Christian [Szymczak] and get into a one-two situation early on. Christian’s car, unfortunately, was challenged today with some mechanical issues. When he bobbled, I popped out into an early lead, but there was so much pressure from behind.
“Elliott [Skeer], jumped up to the front, and even though we were matching pace with him, once the pack caught up to me it became more of a dice. We made it a little easy for Elliott, as we had a good battle behind him.”
After starting from the back of the field due to mechanical issues in qualifying, Dean drove the wheels off his No. 16 Projections Research/PPG MX-5 for the entire 26-lap race, hanging the back end out on each turn, getting the most from his BFGoodrich g-Force R1 tires, to finish fourth.
Russell Walker, of Dallas, came in fifth, in his first weekend of the 2013 Mazda MX-5 Cup campaign. In the No. 20 Pauecon MX-5, Walker was able to hold off a charging Bryan Hixon, of San Antonio, in the No. 12 MAZDASPEED/ALARA Racing MX-5.
Kenton Koch, of Glendora, Calif., won his fourth-straight Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Series class race, leading flag-to-flag. Lucas Bize and Robby Foley duplicated the podium from Round Three.
Following his second win of the season, Skeer became the new championship leader, with a total of 230 points. Following the DNF, two-time winner Szymczak is 11 markers behind, with Dean, who has collected 214 points, sitting in third.