Sick Sideways teammates John Dean, of Sebring, Fla., and Christian Szymczak, of Palos Verdes, Calif., took the top two-steps of the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup podium on Saturday morning at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Dean Copeland, from Bowie, Md., finished third.
After an hour-long delay for visibility-limiting fog, the scheduled 45-minute race was shorted to 30-minutes. It turned out to be the perfect race length for Dean's No. 16 Projections Research/Sick Sideways Mazda MX-5, who took the lead in the first corner and led to the checkered flag. Dean scored a 0.462-second victory, averaging 78.489 mph in the 18-lap race.
Dean held off his charging teammate at the finish, when Szymczak's No. 34 Projections Research/Sick Sideways MX-5 shaved more than two seconds off the gap in the final two laps.
The win was the second in the four-race season for Dean, who also won Round Two at Sebring on the opening weekend.
"Unbelievable," Dean said more than once. "It's just a crazy week. When we got here we had an issue somewhere in the front suspension, and we really haven't figured it out. Unbelievable getting the car set up last night, they worked until 10 o'clock. The race couldn't have gone better for us.
"Christian was on a charge there, I could see him back there and that's all I had. One more lap and he definitely would have had the top spot here on the podium. It was such a tough week and I was just hoping for a fourth or better. To be on the top step of the podium is just unbelievable."
Szymczak finished seventh during Friday's Round Three race after transmission issues, and started fourth during Sunday's race. The shortened race that helped Dean may have worked in reverse for Szymczak.
"It would have been such a fantastic battle between me and John," Szymczak said. "I think we both had fantastic cars today, extremely fast cars. We found some set up tricks that helped us out a lot and I think Sick Sideways was the class of the field this weekend.
"I had the pace to run with him. I was very close at the 30 minute mark and with 15 more minutes, it would have been a great battle."
Copeland's No. 7 Copeland Motorsports/Sync Speed MX-5 ran just behind Dean until lap 15. Beginning a late race challenge for the win, Dean and Copeland