Toronto, Canada (17 July 2017) – Rounds 7 & 8 of the Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Series presented by BFGoodrich Tires featured a familiar trip north to Canada, however, this time the MX-5 Cup cars were tasked with tackling the city streets of Toronto. In tandem with the Verizon IndyCar Series for the weekend, McCumbee McAleer Racing (MMR) team co-owner, Stevan McAleer, knew a traditional circuit setup wouldn’t work if they were going to visit victory lane for the sixth and seventh times this season. With his eyes on qualifying the team cars up front, Stevan commented, “The biggest thing is the track is so bumpy; we’re simply trying to get a neutral setup. Even between sessions one and two, the track changed a lot. We want our team to qualify as high as possible especially at a place like this.
Coming off a strong set of Friday morning practices, McAleer’s evaluation turned out to be just a bit stronger than a hunch as Patrick Gallagher scored another pole position in 2017 with the #29 ModSpace / Howard Concrete Pumping Mazda. The row one starting position wasn’t earned without drama, however. After Gallagher pulled off his scorching time, he was rear-ended and the #29 MX-5 suffered massive crash damage. Because Gallagher wasn’t the cause of the incident, his pole position remained and the team masterfully repaired the car to perfection.
Close behind Gallagher was Robert Stout in the #28 Lucas Oil / Lucas Oil Racing TV / SC Fuels machine on the third row in sixth with Max Faulkner just behind in the 10th position piloting the #82 MMR Miata. With each of the MMR drivers starting in the top 10, the team looked onward to Race #1 of the weekend in an attempt to set a best-ever round results!
The green flag on Round #7 flew an hour before noon and the heat of battle between each of the Mazda MX-5 Cup competitors was already at an all-time high. Patrick Gallagher led the field into turn one first and looked to separate himself from the pack.
After a quick full course yellow temporarily slowed the pace of race, the green flag flew again with a bunched up field hungry for the lead. The top six drivers were able to separate themselves from the rest of the field with about 25 minutes to go as Patrick Gallagher was shuffled to third, Robert Stout fought in fourth and Max Faulkner was clawing away close behind in eighth. Three laps later, with about 20 minutes remaining in the race, Stout made a power move around teammate Gallagher for third and set his eyes on the top two.
With only 12 minutes remaining in Round #7, Robert Stout made another incredible power move to the outside of Todd Lamb for second and brought Gallagher with him. With a brave yet proven method in the back of Stout’s mind, he implemented another momentum driven move right around the outside of Bryan Ortiz and took the lead with just over five minutes to go! Patrick Gallagher followed suit and propelled his #29 machine to second.
With a late race incident involving Todd Lamb creating a hazard on track, the final full course yellow brought an end to the race and another 1-2 finish for Robert Stout and Patrick Gallagher with Max Faulkner scoring another personal record with his best finish of the year in the seventh position. To cap it off, Robert Stout also deservedly scored the Battery Tender Hard Charger award by gaining six positions on route to his Canadian victory.
“It was a pretty tough fight,” said Stout. “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.”
Fully aware of his early race struggle and his pursuit back to the front, Gallagher was thrilled to finish on the podium behind his teammate. “The car wasn’t great in the beginning,” Gallagher acknowledged. “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).”
The next day the team aimed for yet another dominant MX-5 Cup event. Gallagher started from the pole and immediately proved to the field that they were going to have to put up a fight to take the round win away. Stout was in close pursuit but after being hit in the right rear, the damage suffered took him out of contention.
There to fill the void was the street circuit rookie, Max Faulkner. Faulkner made incredible move after incredible move and was poised to put his #82 Mazda in the top five. With just five minutes to go, Max made two fantastic moves to get around Jensen and Oxner to bring home a personal best fourth place! “Wow, what a weekend,” Faulkner exclaimed. “After coming home seventh yesterday, we knew the pace was there for today. The race was insane, I ran third for much of the race before falling back to fourth at the line. This is till by far my best finish ever and I’m ecstatic after a hugely exciting and fun race. I can’t wait for Watkins Glen at the end of August to finally get the car on the podium! Massive thanks to everyone at MMR, these guys are awesome and the car was on point every session this weekend.”
Just ahead, Gallagher dominated the entire event and provided another victory to McCumbee McAleer Racing to add win number seven of eight to the team tally. “These guys from McCumbee McAleer racing are incredible,” Gallagher said in victory lane. “I got wrecked in qualifying and they put the thing back together and I got second yesterday and first today. The ModSpace / Howard Concrete Pumping car is fast but man, these MMR guys are the best in the business.”
William Mann, Vice President of Business Development for ModSpace, was thrilled to see Gallagher find victory lane despite the setback experienced in qualifying. “ModSpace is proud of the success that Patrick continues to have this season,” stated Mann. “We are so excited that MMR earned another victory this weekend after overcoming several obstacles leading up to the race. We look forward to the upcoming races and watching the team continuing to work towards victories.”
The next stop for the MX-5 Cup Series will be hosted just south of the Finger Lakes at Watkins Glen International from September 1-3 where the team looks to earn an additional pair of wins in the Empire State.