Patrick Gallagher on Battery Tender MX-5 Cup Pole in Toronto
 July 14, 2017| 
  • Series News

Chasing fifth win of the season as his team races to make repairs

TORONTO, Canada (July 14, 2017) – Battery Tender Global MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires point leader Patrick Gallagher set the fastest qualifying lap on the streets of Toronto on Friday, only to get caught up in an incident moments later.

Even so, no one was able to top his time at the 1.786-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit in the heart of Toronto.

Not long after entering a lap of 1:24.7693, Gallagher was hit in Turn 3, sending his No. 29 McCumbee McAleer Racing car into the wall backwards at speed. He and Luke Oxner (No. 77 White Racing) were both stranded on track, which brought out a red flag late in the session.

“I was letting my teammate slingshot by and then Luke came in and something happened,” Gallagher said. “The rear end is smashed up, but we’ll race tomorrow. I’m more worried about when we put it back together, is it going to drive like it did before? The car was great, and everyone I was around, except for maybe [Bryan] Ortiz and [Patrick] Stout, I felt like I could drive away from.”

This is Gallagher’s second pole position of the season and nets him an additional point in the Championship as he also looks to score his fifth win of the 2017 season and grow his championship advantage.

Though he arrived late and missed the first practice session of the day, Bryan Ortiz (No. 4 Copeland Motorsports) qualified second after having to race to make it to the track on Friday.  

“It’s been a crazy 24 hours,” laughed Ortiz. “I was supposed to be here yesterday at four in the afternoon. They cancelled all my flights. They moved me through Charlotte, and then got me to Chicago at one in the morning. I didn’t sleep at all. I arrived at 8:40 in the morning in Toronto. I came straight here by taxi and ran as fast as possible and got here less than 10 minutes before the second session!”

The missed track time didn’t seem to faze Ortiz; he was fifth quick in the second session and then turned a 1:24.8812 in qualifying to earn the outside pole position.

“Second is good,” Ortiz, the highest qualifying rookie said as he hopes to secure the $50,000 scholarship for the top finishing rookie. “We’re close to the pole time. I got into some traffic during that qualifying session, so I think the car is capable of running first. Tomorrow is the time to show it!”

After the red flag, the qualifying session resumed with only three minutes and 25 seconds on the clock; enough for one more flying lap. Matt Cresci (No. 51 Slipstream Performance) took full advantage of that lap, moving from seventh to third on the timing screens with a 1:25.1588.

“I spent the entire session by myself, thinking it was a great idea and it turned out to be a terrible idea,” Cresci said. “On the last lap, I saw someone, I rode the draft, I completely messed up the lap and still got third. If I’d ridden the draft earlier, I’d almost certainly be in pole position. Lesson learned.”

Tom Martin III  scored his best qualifying position of the year. A time of 1:25.2096 in the No. 21 Winding Road Team TFB car put him fourth on the grid.

Defending MX-5 Cup Champion Nathanial Sparks qualified his No. 8 Sick Sideways Racing entry fifth as he looks to score a second win on the 2017 season. Sparks, who is second in the point standings, clocked a 1:25.2217.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway race winner and series rookie Robert Stout completes the third row in the No. 28 McCumbee McAleer Racing entry. His quickest lap was a 01:25.3409.

Saturday’s Round Seven race will go green at 11:00am ET and will be streamed live on www.racecontrol.indycar.com, as will Sunday’s Round Eight race, slated for 10:35am ET.