- With two Sick Sideways teammates already running near the top of the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup standings, the Sebring, Fla.-based team announced today that it added a third front-running driver to its stable. Nathanial Sparks, from Spanish Fort, Ala., will join the team for the rest of the season.
Sparks, a 22-year-old rookie driver, has been operating his No. 3 OOTSK Performance MX-5 with a skeleton crew of family and friends. Despite the singular effort, he still managed a podium finish at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, but has also encountered some difficulties during other rounds. Sparks currently sits sixth in the Championship and will join John Dean and Christian Szymczak in Sick Sideways-prepared cars.
"We're excited to have Nathanial join us at Sick Sideways," said Dean, driver and team principal at Sick Sideways Racing. "He will be working with us in the shop, as well as at the track. Even though his car will not have the Sick Sideways livery, Sparky will get all the benefits of being part of the team, including driver coaching, suspension setup, and having Christian and myself as teammates on the track.
"He's been on the podium once this year. We know what he's capable of, and we are optimistic for the rest of the season."
In their first season with the MX-5 Cup, both of the full-season Sick Sideways drivers are in contention for the Championship. Dean has won three times and is second in the point standings, just 26 out of the lead. Szymczak has two podium finishes and is just 46 points out of the lead in fourth, despite driving a race car full time for the first time in more than 10 years.
"It's been a challenge this year to get everything done and then try to be competitive on the track," Sparks said. "While we've done a great job with our first year, moving to a team like Sick Sideways that clearly puts together competitive cars will take some of the pressure off and allow me to worry about just driving the MX-5 Cup car."
Dean's No. 16 Projections Research/Sick Sideways MX-5, Szymczak's No. 34 Projections Research/Sick Sideways MX-5, and Sparks' No. 3 OOTSK Performance/Sick Sideways machine return to action for Round Eight of the 11-race season at VIRginia International Raceway, September 14-15.
More information on Sick Sideways is available at www.SickSideways.com. More