Top five covered by 0.15 seconds in MX5 Cup race finish at VIR

BY foxsports • August 28, 2016

Drake Kemper finished just 0.15 seconds back of Nathanial Sparks in Sunday’s Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires race at Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Va. However, it was only good enough for fifth position.

Sparks, Chris Stone, John Dean II, Mark Drennan and Kemper all crossed the line just 0.15 seconds apart at the end of the series’ second race of the weekend. For Sparks, it helps him extend his points lead with just two races left to go in Road Atlanta as he targets the $200,000 Mazda Road to 24 Scholarship. This would enable him to make a step up the Mazda Road to 24 ladder, with the next step a place in the IMSA-sanctioned Mazda Prototype Lites division.

Dean Copeland won the first race of the weekend on Saturday, but it was Sparks making the headlines in his No. 8 Sick Sideways machine by edging his competition by just 0.017 seconds at the line for the win on Sunday. For both drivers, it was their first career wins.

“In the last lap, we all got bunched up under yellow and my team at Sick Sideways were one-two-three,” explained Sparks. “When you have your teammates in that position, it’s always a difficult chess game to keep all three of us up there while defending your position. Coming into the last corner, we got a couple of bad runs and everyone was trying to make a mess out of it. I’m glad we made it through safely but that was one heck of a race. Going into Road Atlanta, being the points leader was not something I expected. I think working on my car keeps my head in the game, but by doing what I’ve been doing, I’ll be in good shape for the point standings."  

Unofficially, Sparks has a 69-points lead over Ara Malkhassian with just two races left to go. The final two rounds will be held at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga. from Sept. 30 - Oct. 1.