Dean Scores Win in Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup Race One at Mazda Raceway
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Dean Scores Win in Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup Race One at Mazda Raceway


John Dean, of Sebring, Florida, added another victory to his 2015 resume as the result of a Turn 11 pass in the closing laps of Round Five of the SCCA Pro Racing Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca as part of the Monterey Grand Prix. Patrick Gallagher, of Thornville, Ohio, finished second followed by his teammate Peter Portante, of Plainville, Connecticut.

Dean led only the final four laps of the 23-lap Round Five race at the 11-turn, 2.238-mile road course, in his No. 16 Bulb Jacket/PPG MX-5, but it proved to be enough to cross the finish line in first. The race was slowed by two full-course yellows that totaled three laps. However, Dean made his pass for the lead happen under green-flag conditions.

For the opening 19 circuits of the course, it seemed like Gallagher was the class of the field as he pulled out a multi-car gap on two occasions. Dean worked his way within striking distance and got a clean run off Turn 11 to take the lead. From there, Dean never looked back.

In his No. 44 Howard Concrete Pumping MX-5, Gallagher finished second. Following the race Gallagher looked gutted after coming within four laps of scoring his first career win in the series. In this race, Gallagher said he ran a flawless race until the gearbox let him down going through Turn 11, on lap 20. For the final four laps, the gearbox was not the same causing Gallagher to slow.

Open-wheel veteran Portante scored his first podium finish during his first season as part of the series. Driving the No. 24 Intercity Lines MX-5, Portante showed patience as he stayed in the lead pack throughout the 23-lap race. Portante was shuffled as low as sixth, but fought his way back to third by lap 17 and held that position.

Ara Malkhassian, of Houston, finished fourth in his No. 11 ALARA Racing MX-5. On the long runs, Malkhassian seemed to bring his car to life. Malkhassian was playing the patience game making opportunistic passes when the situation presented itself.
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