Cooper, Mx-5 Cup season Celebrated at banquet
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DULUTH, Ga. (October 3, 2011) - Champion Michael Cooper and the rest of the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy MX-5 Cup field were honored on Friday night in the Independence Ballroom of the Atlanta Marriott Gwinnett Place following the season finale at Road Atlanta.

Cooper, of Syossett, N.Y., was honored for his first professional championship following a five-win season featuring seven podium finishes and six pole positions in the No. 6 AMG Racing Mazda MX-5.

In addition to the $42,700 in prize money Cooper took home during his championship-winning season, Cooper will also earn a ride in a MAZDASPEED3 during the 2012 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season.

The gathering, hosted by Playboy playmates Deanna Brooks and Pilar Lastra, honored not just Cooper, but the entire season and the top-10 finishers of 2011 - including runner-up Jeff Mosing and third-place Jason Saini.

After a brief welcome by SCCA Pro Racing President Tom Campbell and a message from Jim Jordan, Alternative Marketing Manager for Mazda, each of the top 10 drivers were brought to the stage to receive their awards.

Included amongst the on-the-track awards were three significant awards. Tim Probert took home the first Masters Award in the Playboy MX-5 Cup Series for his seventh place finish overall as a gentleman driver. Scott Shelton earned MX-5 Cup Rookie of the Year honors with a sixth-place finish overall.

Dean Copeland, driver of the No. 7 Copeland Motorsports/Sync Speed Inc. MX-5, earned the Spirit of Mazda Award for a fourth-place finish that included two wins in 2011. Copeland's award earned him a Hugh Hefner-autographed smoking jacket from Mazda and Playboy.

The evening ended with a speech from the new champion, as well as his team owner, Jason Hoover, representing Atlanta Motorsports Group's 2011 Team of the Year Award.

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