MAZDASPEED 7 Driver Blog: Patrick Gallagher

I started racing quarter midgets and karts when I was six and since then I have driven numerous racecars. Last year I was fortunate enough to drive for JAY Motorsports in the U.S. F2000 National Championship’s National class as well as the SCCA Formula Enterprises class in Club Racing. As the end of the season approached, it was no secret that racing in 2013 would be impossible without a source of funding other than my family. Knowing this going into the 2012 SCCA National Championship Runoffs only added pressure to win and secure my slot in the Mazda Club Racer Shootout and a shot at a free season of racing.

In an eventful race at the Runoffs we came out on top and my climb towards the MAZDASPEED scholarship had taken another step. I have spent a good deal of time around professional motorsports and I believe this helped prep me for what I was about to go through.

With the SCCA National Championship secured, the second step was to write a partnership proposal that was worthy of securing the funding to go racing. This was easily the most difficult project I have ever done and I worked on this proposal for four to five hours each night for many weeks. After everyone had sent in their respective proposals for judging, I came out in the top four and was invited to the shootout.

Knowing that my entire racing career depended on this one-day event made for an exciting and stressful few days. At the shootout we had an opportunity to drive the Mazda MX-5 Cup racecar. This was my first time in a production-based racecar, which is much different than the open-wheel cars that I had been driving. After a long day of driving, meeting, pitching proposals and attempting to impress, the shootout was over…except for the waiting.

It was two or three days (the longest of my life) before we knew who had won the shootout and would get the free year of racing. When I got the word that I had won I was very happy, but I also knew that the hardest part was yet to come – choosing a team. I had calls from many team owners wanting me to test and race on their teams, but in the end one team stood out in every aspect of their program: CJ Wilson Racing.

One year ago I had no idea I would be a Mazda scholarship driver, Shootout winner, or driving for a major league baseball pitcher on one of the best teams in the Playboy MX-5 Cup. I sit here now and wonder where I will be in the next year or two; the possibilities are endless with support from organizations and people like Mazda, CJ Wilson Racing, Howard Concrete Pumping, CTL Engineering and all of my family and friends. I hope you all are enjoying this ride to the top as much as I am. See you there!