Dean Copeland, from Bowie, Md., earned his second-consecutive SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup victory of the season, leading the final two laps in an action-packed race Saturday at Road America. Jason Saini, from Cresson, Texas, and Mike Cooper of Syosset, N.Y., completed the podium.
The 17-lap race around the 4.048-mile circuit featured eight lead changes among four different drivers before Copeland led the final two laps and earned a 0.114-second victory over Saini, covering the 68.815-mile race distance in an average of 90.564 mph.
"With two to go, they ran three wide up the front straight and I got a massive pull," Copeland said. "I just drove by all of them and cleared them by the time I got to turn one. I was leading the last lap at the white flag and I thought, this isn't where I want to be. I drove as hard I've probably ever driven, and it was enough to stay ahead of the guys."
Copeland's No. 7 Copeland Motorsports/Sync Speed Inc MX-5 also topped Saini in Round Four of the championship at Lime Rock Park by just 0.96-second, his first career win.
"They're all so hard to get in this series, but this one is real special because tomorrow is Father's Day and my dad is here," Copeland said. "At Lime Rock, we were behind the eight ball, but we put a whole new set-up on it this week and it was perfect. Your first win is obviously special, but here at Road America, which is a draft and strategy track, it's great to pull it off in that nature."
Saini's No. 28 Autobarn Mazda of Countryside/New Balance/Phiten/SunTrust/CJ Wilson's Children's Charities Mazda MX-5 started on pole and led on four different occasions for a total of six laps, but fell just short at the finish.
"That was a wild ride, it was awesome," Saini said. "That's what MX-5 Cup is. Mazda puts on such a great series. The cars are dead equal and there were six or seven cars that were there. It was madness. It was great fun, and all of the other drivers drove clean. We had a couple of bumps and bruises but that's going to happen when you run this close at this speed. It's a great result for C.J. Wilson racing, we're a new team and we want to break through with our first win, but it's coming. The car was great, the BFGoodrich Tires were great. We were just hooked up today."