MAZDA Awards $300K in Scholarships to Battery Tender MAZDA MX-5 Cup Presented by BF Goodrich Tires

John Dean II and Robby Foley Secure Their First Pro Championships

TOPEKA, Kan. (Oct. 5, 2015) –

Winner’s hardware and two scholarships were awarded to the series champions and top finishers at the awards banquet.  This banquet was for the SCCA Pro Racing Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires challenge. It was held at the Atlanta Marriott in Georgia, on Oct. 2.  John Dean, of Sebring, Florida, was the night’s big winner.  He was formally awarded the 2015 Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup Championship title, with a total of 659 points. As the series champion, Dean not only earned the trophy and contingency that go with winning the championship.  Also, he earned the $200,000 Mazda Road to 24 scholarship to advance his career as a racecar driver.

Also, at the banquet, it was announced that Dean would take advantage of a unique arrangement regarding the scholarship funds. The pricing announcement regarding the new 2016 Global MX-5 Cup car package occurred Oct 1.  Additionally, Dean elected to receive two of the new $53,000 racing machines, plus $100,000 to use in campaigning the cars next season. The move was unprecedented, as all past series champions have used the scholarship funds to move to the next level of sports car racing.  Also, taking home scholarship funds was Robby Foley, NJ after he won the season-long Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge Championship scoring 666 points. In addition, his scholarship was worth $100,000 to be used to help fund a full season in the 2016 Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup, at the controls of the new generation of MX-5 Cup car.

Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup

Leading into the final two rounds of the season. Included as part of the Petit Le Mans Powered by Mazda, at Road Atlanta Challange.  Dean, in the No. 16 Bulb Jacket/PPG/Sick Sideways MX-5 was the Championship leader. However, he held that position with only a seven-point margin over Patrick Gallagher, of Thornville, Ohio, in the No. 44 Howard Concrete Pumping MX-5. Additionally, in the last two races of the season, Gallagher made a push to get to the lead in the first of two races.  Finally, the championship picture became clear.  Gallagher was unable to crack the lead in the second race.  Gallagher scored the win, but Dean finished in a high enough position to guarantee his title. When the final points were tallied, Gallagher finished 13 markers behind Dean.   Also, Gallagher compiled a record of three wins, nine podium finishes, and two pole positions.

In addition, Nathanial Sparks, of Spanish Fort, Alabama, came into the final two races of the season in third and completed the season in the same position. Sparks collected a total of 597 points, including four podium finishes at the controls of his No. 8 OOTSK Performance/Sick Sideways MX-5.  Also, Drake Kemper, of Toluca Lake, California, represented the third, of three, full-time Sick Sideways drivers in the top five of the championship. Kemper drove his No. 99 Royal Rugby/Mazda Motorsports Development/BFGoodrich Tires MX-5 to a total of 562 points. Additionally, Kemper’s record included one win and four podium finishes.  In his first year in the series, and first time driving sports cars, Peter Portante, of CT, completed the top five positions. Portante wheeled his No. 24 Intercity Lines MX-5 to a total of 552 points, which included five consecutive podium finishes.

Pro Challenge

Back to the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge.  Sam Adams, of Richfield, Wisconsin, and Nikko Reger, of Houston, completed the top three championship positions.  Adams finished the season seven markers behind Foley.  He compiled a record of seven podium finishes with three wins. Also, Reger finished the season with a total of 657 points, including six podium finishes. Those podiums included three wins.

Awards Given

Kyle Loustaunau (# 4 Mazda Motorsports Development/BFGoodrich Tires MX-5), of California, took home rookie of the year honors.  Zach Lee (# 12 ALARA Racing MX-5), of San Antonio, notched the Master’s Championship as the highest scoring, eligible driver over 40 years old.  In addition, Team of the Year Award was given to ModSpace Racing, as the new team, co-owned by past series champion Stevan McAleer.  Sarah Montgomery (# 14 Travel Lafayette, LA/F.A.S.T. Fresh Air Systems Technologies MX-5), of Lafayette, Louisiana, was the recipient of the Spirit of Mazda award for embodying the Challenger Spirit.

Mazda USA

John Doonan, Director of Mazda Motorsports, North America said.  All of us at Mazda are very proud of the 2015 Battery Tender MX-5 Cup season Presented by BFGoodrich.   We are happy to have so many competitors join us for the entire season.  To have the season championship come down to the final race is all that we could ask for. It is great when it comes down to big fields and close competition. Our congratulations go out to John Dean for his championship, which has eluded him in the past.  Also, congratulations go to Robby Foley for his Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge Championship.

“We are excited that John [Dean] has chosen to remain in the series for 2016 with his $200,000 scholarship by adding two brand new 2016 cars under the Sick Sideways tent and we look forward to seeing Robby move up the Mazda Road to 24 ladder. Also, we are proud of the growth of this series over the last ten seasons.  In conclusion, we are dedicated to continuing to find ways to bring continuous value to participants and partners every year.”