Robert Stout Earns Global MX-5 Cup Saturday Win on Streets of Toronto
 July 15, 2017| 
  • Series News

TORONTO, Canada (July 15, 2017) –  Rookie Robert Stout emerged from a hard-fought battle on the streets of Toronto to score his second Battery Tender Mazda Global MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires win of the season on Saturday.

Driving the No. 28 Lucas Oil Racing TV/SC Fuels entry for McCumbee McAleer Racing, Stout finished ahead of his teammate and Global MX-5 championship leader Patrick Gallagher. 

After missing the opening practice of the weekend following travel complications, Bryan Ortiz (No. 4 Copeland Motorsports) finished third after leading 19 of the first 20 laps of the race.

Matt Cresci just missed the podium in the No. 51 Slipstream Performance machine. He finished fourth after being a part of the top-six train of cars that battled from start to finish. Defending Series Champion Nathanial Sparks finished fifth in the No. 8 Sick Sideways Racing entry.  Tom Martin III (No. 21 Winding Road Team TFB) earned his best finish of the season, crossing the line in sixth.

The race was the first of two for the MX-5 Cup field on the event weekend, which is being staged as part of the annual Verizon IndyCar Series visit to Toronto.

Ortiz was the early leader, making a pass on polesitter Gallagher (No. 29 McCumbee McAleer Racing) on the opening lap. His lead stood through two full-course caution periods and to the halfway point of the race. But his mirrors were full, and busy, thanks to a massive battle for podium positions behind him.  Ortiz lost the lead briefly to Todd Lamb (No. 84 Atlanta Speedwerks), before facing off with Stout.

“It was a tough battle,” said Ortiz, who is among the strong field of rookie racers looking to take the $50,000 Mazda scholarship for the top rookie finisher.  “I feel like I was a little faster than everybody, but I was by myself up front and they were able to work the draft and catch me on the straight. It was a bummer for sure (to finish third) knowing we had a car that was fast enough to fight for the win. We’ll learn from this one and try it again tomorrow.”

Stout (No. 28 McCumbee McAleer Racing) had a tremendous opening lap that moved him from sixth to third, setting him up to fight for the lead. It wasn’t until the final 10 minutes that he made his move on Ortiz.

Fortunately for Stout, the third and final full-course caution of the 45-minute race came out just after the pass with less than 10 minutes on the clock. It was not enough time to restart the race.

“It was a pretty tough fight,” Stout said. “There’s some guys in there that do not want to give it up, especially at a race like this where we know a caution is such a high possibility. There’s no reason to be conservative to the end of the race. My goal was to get to the front as soon as I possibly could and then see what happened from there. It took a couple of aggressive moves, but we were able to pull it off.”

Stout was followed across the line by teammate Gallagher, who was never able to regain the top spot after starting from pole, but did set the fastest lap of the race, at 1:25.2699-seconds.

The continued podium streak, and the fastest lap of the race, was a testament to the team effort that went into the result. Gallagher had posted the fastest lap in qualifying on Friday, only to be taken out by a crash late in the session. The No. 29 Modspace/Howard Concrete machine was heavily damaged, but the team had the Mazda MX-5 Cup machine ready to go for the race start.

“The car wasn’t great in the beginning,” Gallagher admitted. “We set it up for the long run, but the race was the exact opposite of practice—there were three yellows.

Thank you to the team for an awesome job to turn the car around. I had a blast out there and congratulations to Robert (Stout).”

A late race restart would have given him a shot at the win, but Gallagher was relieved to not have a one-lap dash for the finish after the final yellow.

“We’d like to go green and get a race win, but at the end of the day, we’re here to win the championship,” said Gallagher, who is targeting the $200,000 Mazda Road to 24 scholarship that the title will earn. [Nathanial] Sparks (P2 in the championship standings) was behind us, the point gap grows, we had a car with all four corners on it, so I was okay with it [ending under yellow].”

In addition to winning his second race of the year, Stout captured the Battery Tender Hard Charger Award for picking up five positions during the 45-minute race.

 “We had some work to do after qualifying yesterday,” Stout said. “We weren’t too satisfied with sixth. We got the car a little more freed up and it was able to rotate a bit more to get the power down early for these long straightaways.”

The final full-course caution came out for Lamb, who was a part of the top-six train and officially led one lap of the race. The train of podium pursuers got derailed as Lamb moved to avoid a slower car in turns six and seven, sending him into the path of Sparks as the two made contact.  Lamb found himself in a slippery path of oil-dry as his car spun into the wall and ended his race.

Round 8 of the Global MX-5 Cup will take place tomorrow, July 16, at 10:35am ET and be streamed on racecontrol.indycar.com or youtube.com/indycar.

 

 

 

 

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