Dean sweeps the ND-1 category for the weekend
AUSTIN, Texas (March 24, 2019) – Round Two of the Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich® Tires® looked to be on track for another photo finish until Selin Rollan broke away from the field to score a dominant victory at Circuit of the Americas.
Starting from the pole position in the No. 87 Sick Sideways car, Rollan scrapped with Saturday’s race winner Drake Kemper and Bryan Ortiz through the first half of the race, before re-taking the lead with 18 minutes to go. His pass for the lead was just one of the 261 passes for position made in the 45-minute race.
“I saw them make contact behind me and get bobbled up and I just put my head down and was doing qualifying laps every lap, just hitting my marks,” said Rollan.
The fight for the final podium spots behind him enabled Rollan to cross the finish line 5.1882 seconds ahead of runner-up finisher Kemper. The victory was extra sweet for Rollan, who was in the hunt for a win on Saturday, but was issued a drive-through penalty for contact and had to fight his way through the field to finish seventh.
“I’m thrilled to get this win,” Rollan said. “This is sweet redemption from yesterday. I feel like we proved ourselves today. It is all for Phillip Kinzie. Sick Sideways just dominated this weekend, getting the win yesterday and taking a 1-2 today in ND-2 and winning ND-1, so it is a great weekend for the team.”
Rollan also recorded the fastest lap of the race at 2:31.033 in his new, ND-2 based Mazda MX-5 Cup car which is more than four seconds faster than the fastest lap of the weekend in the 2018 race weekend at Circuit of The Americas.
Race One winner Kemper led six laps of the race in his No. 99 Sick Sideways entry, but nearly lost it all with an epic slide through the Turn 20 in the final stages of the race. A brilliant save led to second-place finish.
“I might need some new gloves-I think they are on fire at the moment!” joked Kemper after moving up four positions in the closing laps of the race. “I had to whip at that wheel a lot-I almost went around three or four times after having contact. I had a wild last few laps, but I’m here (at the podium). That’s what wins these championships, stealing those extra points at the end. I knew that Selin (Rollan) would be fast today – he was upset about yesterday and he’s going to go on a tear, and he did. I got a good jump on him at the start but once I got shuffled back I knew he was going to be gone. I just had to not make any enemies and salvage as many points as I can.”
Luke Oxner took home his first podium of the season in the No. 77 White Racing car. Oxner started seventh and was fighting it out inside the lead pack for the whole race before finishing third.
Saturday’s third-place finisher Robert Stout (No. 28 McCumbee McAleer Racing) finished just shy of the podium in fourth.
Ortiz, credited with leading two laps of the race in the No. 4 Copeland Motorsports entry, completed the top five.
Another Copeland Motorsports entry, rookie Tyler Gonzales, was awarded the Idemitsu Hard Charger of the race award. Gonzales advanced five positions in the 45-minute race that was slowed by one full-course yellow for a Turn One incident at the start.
Former series champion John Dean II (No. 16 Sick Sideways Racing) earned his second-straight ND-1 class victory ahead of his teammate Nathanial Sparks (No. 8 Sick Sideways Racing).
“Palermo was so fast the first half of the race and he was driving great,” said Dean. “I was making some little mistakes, but then I adjusted and my car just kept getting better and better. I think he (Palermo) might have missed a shift, and that gave me the chance to get by. And when those guys started battling behind me, I was able to stretch a gap a bit. It feels so good to have so many of our team cars up on the podium. My guys were here until 3 in in the morning working on the cars, and I cant be happier as a driver and as a team owner.”
After leading ND-1 for the first half of the race, Hernan Palermo (No. 20 Slipstream Performance) finished third.
The next two rounds of the Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich® Tires® take place during the NTT IndyCar Series weekend at Barber Motorsports Park, April 5 – 6.