Points leader Kenton Koch will be leading Rounds 11 and 12 of the Mazda MX-5 Cup Series Presented by BFGoodrich Tires, after setting some blistering times in qualifying . Provided he can at least start both races, Koch will mathematically secure this year’s championship. Although, based on his qualifying times, it appears that Koch doesn’t plan on merely starting; he is in it for the podium.
For those who have followed the MX-5 Cup throughout the season, Kenton has been consistently fast nearly every race, and shows no intention of slowing down now. He is not without competition though, as Nicholas Sparks, James Dean, and Ara Malkhassian (just to name a few) have shown excellent driving throughout the season as well, and hold their fair share of points in the championship.
Going into Round 11, we can expect some extremely close racing. Qualifying times were tight, and everyone will be pushing for a win at the end of the season. As much as it makes sense for Koch to play it safe, and fall toward the middle of the pack to insure a clean race and guarantee a start in Round 12, I don’t believe that it will play out that way. Based on my short interaction with Kenton, I have a hard time imagining him running a very conservative race. He strikes me as a person who is never satisfied with mediocrity, which explains his dynamic driving throughout the season. Looking after the car is likely one of the team’s top priorities right now, being so close to securing the championship. I still expect to see competitive lap times out of Koch in both races though. In fact, he will have to race hard in order to stay anywhere near the front. By the looks of his season, Kenton has become quite accustomed to the front of the pack, and I doubt that will change in the coming races.
In the coming days, we can look forward to a very close set of races for the MX-5 Cup, and by the end of the week, we will have our overall champion. Will Kenton Koch seal his victory season? It’s anybody’s guess, as anything can happen in racing. What we do know for sure is that the season will not end on a dull note, as Road Atlanta promises some of the closest racing we’ve seen all year.