Pressure Builds In Global Mazda MX-5 Cup

Drivers in the Battery Tender® Global Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires® championship still have a lot of racing to do as they take to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this weekend. The 2.258-mile natural terrain road course will play host for two 45-minute Global MX-5 Cup races as the series enters the second half of the 2019 season. The chase for three different titles is still in full force with just a few points separating the ND2, ND1 and rookie championships. $375,000 in prizes from Mazda is up for grabs, creating heated battles across the stacked 29-car field as showcased by the 1,341 passes for position that have happened in the first six races.

Leading the ND2 chase heading into Mid-Ohio is series sophomore Drake Kemper (No. 99 Sick Sideways Racing) who sits atop the leader board with 141 points – just three points over second place Selin Rollan (No. 87 Sick Sideways Racing). Kemper has a lot of work to do to keep Rollan from chipping away at his lead, especially since Kemper hasn’t visited Mid-Ohio since 2013. Rollan is also hot off a win from Road America where he took the checkered by less than half a second over Kemper. But, according to the Sick Sideways Racing driver, consistent results are what will win him his first MX-5 Cup title.

“The season is only halfway over, and a lot can change,” explained Kemper. “Consistency is the big picture for us. Leading the points doesn’t change anything for me, we’re still going to go out there with a focus on race wins. We’re focusing on race wins at every event, but I’d rather salvage third place than risk it all in a dangerous situation. Sitting atop multiple podiums thus far is just the start, we plan on keeping that momentum rolling through round 12 with again, a focus on consistency. This season has been going great.”

Then there’s 2018 championship runner-up Bryan Oritz (No. 4 Copeland Motorsports) who Kemper also has to worry about. Last season during the Mid-Ohio event, Ortiz won the finale with a breathtaking pass in the final moments of the race. That kind of close competition is once again expected this weekend as Ortiz only trails Kemper by eight points in the championship in third place and has more experience on the technical 13-turn circuit.

“I am definitely looking forward to Mid-Ohio,” said Ortiz. “It’s a track that I enjoy a lot racing at and obviously last year we came out with great results in the second race. This year the championship is very tight, nobody has had a really bad race so it’s going to be a matter of keeping our nose clean and staying up front with opportunities to keep winning. Luckily, I have great teammates and a great team behind me that will make sure we have the car to battle up front. It should be a fun race weekend for sure.”