Sunday, June 24, 2018

John Dean II Is 2 For 2 In Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Weekend At Road America

Floridian John Dean II, the 2015 series champion, survived a one-lap shootout in an otherwise wild drafting battle to sweep the weekend. Image Credit: Myles Regan - Regan Digital Images (2018)

John Dean II Is 2 For 2 In Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Weekend At Road America

The weekend was, for John Dean II, was a tale of two different races. Dean had an excellent qualifications session setting him up, due to having the two fastest laps against the times of all other drivers, to secure the pole position for both races held at Road America.

One featured classic positioning and car placement allowing the cars behind his No. 16 Black Sick Sideways prepared Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Miata to rub and scrub each other while not being able to get enough kinetic energy in the draft to complete a pass.

The other had all of the drivers focused on one thing in passing the leader with some success yet never actually putting the No. 16 away.

Dean sure knows how to work the challenges behind him and bottle them up to stay in the lead in Round 5 race 1 at Road America. Image Credit: Myles Regan - Regan Digital Images (2018)

This excerpted and edited from #SundayGroupManagement on behalf of Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup News -

Dean Sweeps Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup at Road America

Dean earned a flag-to-flag victory in Friday’s Round Five race, but the MX-5 Cup competition wasn’t about to let him do the same thing in Saturday’s Round Six. Though he started from pole in the No. 16 Sick Sideways Global Mazda MX-5 Cup entry and held his lead in the opening laps, it wasn’t long until he fell victim to the massive drafting potential presented by Road America’s 4.014 miles. 

“That was a tough battle,” Dean said. “I tried to do the same thing I did yesterday and run the same lines and same defensive technique, but obviously the other guys weren’t having it! It was good though and it made for a fun race.”

“Starting on pole in an MX-5 Cup race at Road America means you are probably going to be passed – probably at the start!  If you get passed, you have to then try and get back in line and pass back. Otherwise, you will just keep losing spots. It’s still a pretty long race for a sprint race and anybody in the top ten can win. It’s that kind of race,” stated John Dean II after qualifications. Image Credit: Myles Regan - Regan Digital Images (2018)

Global Mazda MX-5 Cup continued to demonstrate incredible competition, with 305 passes for position in the 40-minute race, including six official lead changes. The top 10 were nose-to-tail all race long and nobody was able to break away from the pack, Dean included.

“For a minute there, those guys got by and I was trying to size them up and figure out where I’m going to make a move and how to get by,” Dean said. “I was a little confused on what to do; it’s really difficult here with the big drafts and cars in a line. We’ve raced here a lot over the years and we’ve always been fast and our setup has worked well, but I’ve had a ton of bad luck here over the years. This year, finally the karma gods smiled on me.”

That smile came with eight minutes left in the race, when a full-course caution was issued for a car stuck in the gravel at Turn 14. Dean found himself in the lead behind the safety car, with teammate Nathaniel Sparks behind him.

“Sparky disappeared and I don’t know where he went, but it must have been one heck of a battle to get back to the front,” Dean said. “When I saw him behind me for the restart, I felt pretty confident that we could hold the positions. We’ve raced a lot here together. I know what he’s going to do and he knows what I’m going to do, because we’ve been teammates for so long.”

Last lap and it is Sick Sideways P1 (Dean) and P2 (Sparks) in a contentious Round 6 race 2 at Road America. Image Credit: Myles Regan - Regan Digital Images (2018)

When the green flag came back out, the white flag was waved with it to single one lap to go. The Sick Sideways teammates worked together to hold off the rest of the field and crossed the finish line with Dean out front and Sparks in second.

It was an impressive comeback for Sparks in the No. 8 Sick Sideways car, who started second, but tumbled down the order in the opening lap. He spent nearly every lap thereafter door-to-door with another car, clawing his way back to second.

Finishing a hard-fought third was Robert Stout in the No. 28 McCumbee McAleer Racing machine. His teammate, Joey Bickers, led briefly in the No. 34 McCumbee McAleer car, but just missed the podium, finishing fourth.
Improving a remarkable 10 positions in the race, Keith Jensen earned the Battery Tender Hard Charger of the Race award. He finished 13th after starting 23rd and collected $1,000 and a Battery Tender charger for both himself and his crew chief.

“The Global MX-5 Cup has great drivers and Road America is a beautiful track,” Jensen summarized. “For me it’s fun to be a part of the series, and to win the Hard Charger makes it a fantastic day.”
Robert Noaker, the youngest driver in the series at 14 years-old, was the highest finishing rookie. His No. 13 Sick Sideways crossed the line in 10th, earning him valuable points toward the $75,000 prize for Rookie of the Year. He trails Selin Rollan in that contest, but Rollan exited Round Six early.

Nikko Reger, who finished runner-up in Friday’s race continues to lead the Championship points ahead of Bryan Ortiz. Dean moves up to third with his Road America sweep.
[Reference Here]

Round 6 Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup podium celebration at Road America where no one remains dry. Image Credit: Myles Regan - Regan Digital Images (2018)

For the last year, Mr. Dean, as owner of the “Mazda prep shop” and MX-5 Cup race team, took to the track for only two races, taking the year off from full series competition to concentrate on the expansion of Sick Sideways into a new location near the Sebring International Raceway.

Really a bit of the theme here - John Dean II (as in two), top two qualification lap speeds securing two pole positions, 2 races, 2 wins, with the last race having Sick Sideways race car at the top two positions on the podium. What breaks this thread up is that Dean entered the weekend at P9 in the points and leaves Road America at P3 in the points - no 2's here. With this surge, Maybe John Dean II will secure his second (as in two) Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Series Championship.

Replays of this weekend’s doubleheader at Road America can be found at the Mazda USA YouTube page.  Next on the schedule for the Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup is Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, July 27 – 29.

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Road America, John Dean II, Nathaniel Sparks, #SickSideways, #SundayGroupManagement, Battery Tender, Global Mazda MX-5 Cup, Myles Regan, Regan Digital Images, @TheEDJE