Can it Get Any Closer? Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Returns to Road America
 June 18, 2018| 
  • Series News
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Double-header race weekend to be streamed live via Mazda USA YouTube channel

Elkhart Lake, Wisc. (18 June 2018) - How does such a long lap make for such close finishes?

This weekend, the racers in the Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires will look to answer that question as the hugely competitive category returns to one of the most iconic road courses in North America. Road America, the legendary 4-mile natural terrain circuit set in rural Wisconsin, has produced some incredible Global Mazda MX-5 Cup finishes. 

Last year saw Patrick Gallagher win the first race by all of 0.0263-seconds on his way to scoring the 2017 title and the $200,000 prize that goes with it. Race two produced another breathtaking finish as former Global Mazda MX-5 Cup series champion Nathanial “Sparky” Sparks won with a margin of 0.0468-seconds over the rest of the field. 

Nikko Reger leads the championship charge into the event weekend, which will also feature the three levels of the Mazda Road to Indy. Reger has shown strength in the opening four rounds of Global Mazda MX-5 Cup competition, including his sweep of the Barber Motorsports Park weekend. 

“This is my first time ever leading the points, so this upcoming weekend is a pretty big deal for me,” said Reger. “Slipstream Performance and I still have a long season ahead of us, and I am just trying to take it race by race. I have been to Road America twice and picked up my second ever Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup win there, so I am extremely excited to get out there again. With the draft and the huge car trains that go with it, I honestly cannot predict how the race will go. I just hope to drive as cleanly and quickly as possible to make the guys at Slipstream proud. Hopefully if all goes well, we can pick up a late Father's Day present for my dad with another race win!”

What is the secret to that level of competition? Besides having a field of hungry racers, the focus on parity and low cost results in such close racing.  Racing with cars that start on showroom floors, it is the driver that makes the difference. The Global Mazda MX-5 Cup racers all use the exact same SKYACTIV 2.0 liter engine as the MX-5 that you can buy at a Mazda dealer, and are then race-prepared by Long Road Racing with the addition of safety equipment like roll bars and over 200 motorsports-specific parts. 

And it isn’t just the lead pack that is mixing it up-there are battles all the way through the field. The 2018 Global Mazda MX-5 Cup season-opener at the Circuit of the Americas saw more than 300 on-track passes for position. 

Another racer to keep an eye on is Bryan Ortiz, driver of the No. 4 Copeland Motorsports Global Mazda MX-5 Cup car. The Puerto Rican driver snatched his first-ever series victory at the opening race of the 2018 season at Circuit of the Americas and has gone on to bring home two more second place finishes. 

“This season is going great so far and we are in the hunt for the championship,” said Ortiz. “Copeland Motorsports is doing a fantastic job preparing the car for each race and I am confident that the rest of the season will go in our favor. I always have a good feeling about Road America. Last year we had the closest finish of the series with me finishing second. It was truly an amazing race. I will have a new teammate for this race so hopefully we will be able to work together for the race and hopefully I can put my Bella Racing/ Mazda Puerto Rico/ #yonomequito No. 4 car up front and get back on the championship lead!”

Adding to the competition is the rookie battle, which for 2018 will see the top first-year pilot emerge with $75,000 in support from Mazda. Leading the rookie points is Mazda Road to 24 Scholarship winner Selin Rollan, who took a wet win in the second race at COTA as he impressed in his first-ever weekend in the series with a 0.132-second victory.

Battles abound through the field, with the new-for-2018 Challenger Class presented by Monticello Motor Club creating a championship-within-a-championship. Having established a healthy margin in the early rounds, Charlie Belluardo could see his advantage over Alex Wolenski close at Road America. 

Race fans should also keep an eye on the biggest movers in the races, as the driver who moves up the most in each race will earn the Battery Tender “Hard Charger” award, which will net the driver $1,000, with an additional $1,000 going to their crew chief. 

Before the weekend begins, there will already be one winner as F.A.S.T. will be giving one lucky driver a full driver cooling system in a drawing in the drivers meeting. 

The first round of racing will begin at 1:25 p.m. CT on Friday, June 22with the second race starting at 10:05 a.m. CT on Saturday, June 23. Both Road America races will be streamed LIVE on Mazda’s official YouTube channel with live timing and scoring for each session athttps://mx-5cup.com/results/live-timing.

Follow along at http://www.mx-5cup.com as well as https://twitter.com/globalmx5cup.

Livestream link for race one:  https://youtu.be/1j78vBd3jeg

Livestream link for race two:https://youtu.be/6-etgHpdzvs

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