Watkins Glen, New York (4 September 2017) – Rounds 9 & 10 at Watkins Glen International hosted a championship clinching scenario for McCumbee McAleer Racing (MMR) driver, Patrick Gallagher. Although the penultimate rounds of the Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires season had everything on the line, Gallagher and the MMR team proved how they got to the championship clinching scenario in the first place. Faced with evolving weather conditions and fierce competitors looking to spoil a season of dominance, Gallagher never flinched and delivered MMR its first Global Mazda MX-5 Cup championship trophy.
Kicking off the weekend with a punch, Gallagher, in the #29 ModSpace / Howard Concrete Pumping Mazda, scored the pole for both rounds on Sunday, Robert Stout in the #28 Lucas Oil / Lucas Oil Racing TV / SC Fuels machine qualified 7th, Max Faulkner in the #82 MMR Mazda was just behind in 8th, and Nick Igdalsky impressively placed 17th having last stepped into the #27 ModSpace Mazda at Barber Motorsports Park in April.
Round 9 was fierce as a train of Mazdas swapped positions in the top 10 relentlessly. Gallagher’s pole was no guarantee to an end result especially with his teammates stalking his every move. Like races earlier in the season, Gallagher knew the point wasn’t the place to be all race long. After careful evaluation, the #29 machine sat in the third spot with the laps winding down while the #28 of Stout sat close by in line. With just a lap left, Gallagher made a strong move to the point and captured a victory in New York with Stout only a few tenths behind in second, Faulkner scored 11th and Igdalsky finished right where he started.
“Everyone wanted to be in second, but that wasn’t right,” said Gallagher in Victory Lane. “You had to back up, get the fourth-place car on your bumper, let the front two get away and then let everyone shove you forward. Third was the place to be. I figured being in front early in the race would show me where they were coming from and every time somebody went by they were coming from third, so I dropped back and when they said ’10 to go’ and I just tried to get in third place and wait for the last lap.”
With a cool breeze and a slight drizzle hosting Round 10, MMR aimed for another powerful performance with a championship clinching scenario now on the line for Patrick Gallagher. The race proved to be just as chaotic and challenging as the round held earlier in the day and by the time the white flag flew, Stout and Gallagher were stalking another MMR victory.
When the leaders propelled onto the front stretch for the last time, the checkered flag was in sight and it was Robert Stout who led team MMR home finishing in the third position, Nick Igdalsky rocketed to score 9th, and Patrick Gallagher took 5th and clinched the 2017 Global Mazda MX-5 Cup season championship!
Post-race, Gallagher dedicated the win to his Aunt Mary Ellen Gallagher and friend Chris Patrick, both of whom he recently lost and said, “Ultimately, our goal when we started the year with this ModSpace crew was to go out and win a championship, and we secured that today. Thanks to ModSpace, Howard Concrete Pumping and Mazda for giving us a chance to win $200,000. On top of that we have the Global Challenge in a couple weeks to win another $75,000. Mazda does so much for this sport and so much for guys like me. Half the guys in IndyCar or Indy Lights have won scholarships and wouldn’t have gotten some opportunities if it hadn’t been for Mazda. Hats off to John Doonan and everyone at Mazda.”
With the reality of the situation settling in, Gallagher continued, “I’m thrilled to win the championship. The biggest relief is to know I’ll be racing next year. The pressure is off going into Mazda Raceway, so I’ll try to get some wins out there. I look forward to many more in the future. It comes down to Mazda giving guys like me the opportunity to win some races. Going all the way back, I have to thank CJ Wilson Racing, to Jason Hoover at AMG and the guys at McCumbee McAleer. ModSpace has been with me the whole time and hopefully we can keep that relationship in the future.”
Vice President of Motorsports for ModSpace, William Mann, was thrilled to see Gallagher bring home the championship after such a dominant season. “ModSpace congratulates Patrick Gallagher and the entire MMR organization on winning the championship,” stated Mann. “This has been a very exciting race season and teamwork is the basis for this championship. ModSpace is honored that we are a part of this achievement.”
Congratulating his teammate and happy with a solid day, Robert Stout exited his #28 Lucas Oil Racing TV Mazda beside to the podium and said, “It was a really crazy day. I’m really happy to see us bring as many cars back in one piece as we did, because these were two of the most insane races I’ve been in. It was a ton of fun. We knew we wanted rookie points, but I can’t help but to go for wins every time I’m on the track. I was trying to set myself up for a draft on the last lap. The car had the speed for second, if not first. I had the fastest car without a draft. To come away with two podiums is really good and to get points over Ortiz and maintain the rookie points lead is even better!”
For the final rounds of the season, the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup series heads to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca where Robert Stout looks to capture the Rookie of the Year award while Patrick Gallagher and Max Faulkner look to add another couple of wins to the MMR victory bank.