McCumbee McAleer Racing Grabs First Two Wins of Mazda Global MX-5 Cup Series Season
 April 28, 2017| 
  • Team News

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – McCumbee McAleer Racing driver Robert Stout opened the 2017 Mazda Global MX-5 Cup series season April 21-23 at Barber Motorsports Park scoring a 6th in Round 2. Stout’s Teammate Patrick Gallagher grabbed both wins to kick off the season.

 

With a strong 31-car field including Stout and eight other talented rookies, the battle for both the $200,000 Championship Scholarship and the $50,000 Rookie of the Year Scholarship began.

 

Stout, piloting the No. 28 Lucas Oil, SC Fuels Mazda MX-5 prepared by McCumbee McAleer Racing was eager to get the season underway and kicked it off positively by finishing in the top 5 of the second and important practice session on Friday.

 

“They call it a practice session” said Stout after the practice. “But I viewed it as more of a heat race. The qualifying order is based off lap times in practice so you want to be with the fast guys in the front and we did that today.”

 

Each driver’s quickest lap would determine their starting position in race one while each driver’s second quickest lap would set the field for race two. Stout lined up right behind the 2016 defending Champion Nathaniel “Sparky” Sparks and headed out for Friday’s 30-minute qualifying session.

 

“We earned a great spot in the qualifying order,” said Stout, “and surrounded ourselves with fast guys but unfortunately, we missed the set-up. We thought the track would loosen up in the Alabama heat but with all the rubber from the other series it went the other way and we were just too tight.”

 

Stout recorded the 10th quickest time for race one and the 9th for race two. Overall not bad results, but given the extremely talented field, Stout would have his work cut out for him if he wanted to finish on the podium.

 

Drivers took the green flag for Saturday morning’s Round 1 race and Stout moved his No. 28 machine into 8th place but a problem with the car’s transponder meant Race Control was not receiving times and the series chose to black flag Stout. The transponder gremlin contributed to Stout finishing last in Round 1.

 

“It’s unfortunate,” said Stout. “We were in 8th place and the car was much better. We updated the transponder as the series recommended but for whatever reason it decided not to work. I feel horrible for the guys as well who worked so hard to give me a good car but sometimes you’re just dealt some tough cards.”    

 

Hoping for much better results in race two on Saturday afternoon (watch a recording of the race here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/mazdamotorsport/videos/?ref=page_internal) and with the transponder issue handled, Stout had a solid run proving he can keep pace with anyone in the series. At the drop of the green Stout, starting 9th, immediately gained a spot but shortly after the yellow flag flew when the No. 26 car driven by Tim Probert flipped on the front straightaway. Probert was not injured and was pulled to safety by the Holmatro crew, but after a lengthy cleanup 10 minutes had rolled off the clock of the 45-minute race.

 

When the race resumed, Stout was passed and fell back to 10th in a side-by-side battle through the long turn two. He soon worked his way back into 9th and had a clear track in front of him. Stout, clicking off impressive laps including the quickest lap of the race – nearly half second quicker than the field – began working to track down the eight cars ahead of him who were all lined up nose to tail.

 

Four laps later Stout impressively caught the group without the aid of drafting but then dropped back as he battled for 8th. A few laps later he again caught the lead group only to see the yellow light on the dash illuminate indicating a yellow flag somewhere on the track. He quickly checked up as the drivers in-front of him all waived off but the dash light was a false alarm and the field continued to race putting Stout back about four car lengths. Two laps later, Stout caught the lead group again and now the race for the front was on.

 

Stout proved his race craft as he methodically worked his way up to 5th and on the back bumper of the No. 54 car driven by Robby Foley in 4th with one lap to go.

 

“It was a dog fight,” commented Stout. “The best part is we were all just inches from each other but no one was driving dirty. It was precision driving at its best and it was all for position. I was up a spot then down a spot. It was all a “back and forth” with the cars so close. Truly incredible racing and so much fun.”

 

On the final lap, Stout and Foley went side-by-side into turn 2 battling for 4th place and stayed that way to turn 5 with Foley hanging onto the spot. Stout tried again into the Museum turn and they made contact allowing Bryan Ortiz, in the No. 4 car, a chance to get back dropping Stout back to 6th. Stout battled back once again and pulled back up beside Ortiz going side by side through the final turn of the race but Ortiz had the inside line. He leaned on Stout forcing the driver to put two tires in the dirt. Stout would have to settle for 6th as they came across the finish line with Ortiz just edging him out for 5th.

 

“It was a great race I just wish we had that 10 minutes back we lost at the beginning from the yellow flag. There’s no question that the MMR boys gave me a car capable of winning and with a little more time we’d have been in the battle for a podium! It was a hard fought race but everyone was respectable to each other and that makes a huge difference. Can’t wait for Rounds 3 and 4 back in my hometown of Indy, hopefully we can dig out of this hole we’re in and make a run at it.”

 

The next stop on the Battery Tender Global MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires tour will be Rounds 3 and 4 June 16-17 at the 2.439-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in conjunction with the SVRA series. Watch the races live at mazdalive.com.

 

 

 


  • AN5Q3208
     10.15.17| 
    • Series News
  • DC0U9985
     10.14.17| 
    • Series News
  • DC0U9282
     10.9.17| 
    • Series News
  • redo
     9.28.17| 
    • Series News
  • DC0U9699
     9.23.17| 
    • Series News