Szymczak seals MX-5 Cup title

Elliot Skeer of Vista, Calif., won the season finale of the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup on Friday at Road Atlanta, but it wasn’t enough to take the championship away from Christian Szymczak, who finished fourth. Szymczak, who finished third in the Thursday half of the doubleheader, only needed a top-six finish on Friday to clinch.

Skeer came into the weekend with a shot at wresting the title away from Szymczak, only 15 points behind and with 128 possible points on the line for each driver. However, after Szymczak finished ahead of him while John Dean II of Sebring, Fla., took the win in his Projections Research/Sick Sideways MX-5 in the first race on Thursday afternoon, it would take something catastrophic happening to Szymczak for Skeer to leave Georgia as the MX-5 Cup champion. While he did everything he could in the second race, there wasn’t enough of a gap to for Skeer to win the title.

Things could have gone very differently in that first race. Dean started from pole on a wet racetrack and was never headed. Szymczak, though, started third; but he was seventh at the end of the fourth lap – despite passing Skeer at the start to move into second. Szymczak worked his way back to fourth and was in perfect position when Skeer attacked James Vance for second. The move cost Skeer momentum, and Szymczak was able to take advantage.

Skeer started his Pelican Replacement Windows/ MX-5 on pole for Friday’s contest. Dean started fourth but was on Skeer’s bumper by the end of lap one. The pair couldn’t break away from the pack, and were eventually joined by Patrick Gallagher, who worked his way back to third after falling as far back as 13th after contact with Jeff Mosing.

Szymczak, of Palos Verdes, Calif., needed only a sixth-place finish to clinch the championship, no matter what Skeer did, so a fourth-place finish in his Alara Racing MX-5 was more than sufficient.

Kenton Koch, of Glendora, Calif., put an exclamation point on his championship by winning the finale in the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge after finishing second to Lucas Bize in the Thursday race. Koch clinched the title with Thursday’s finish in the Skip Barber Racing School SBMX-5.