SALINAS, Calif. (April 30, 2016) – Patrick Gallagher (No. 72, McCumbee McAleer Racing) beat reigning 2015 champion John Dean II (No. 16, Sick Sideways Racing) by a mere .121 seconds in the thrilling first race of the 2016 Idemitsu MX-5 Cup race on Friday. For Saturday, the field of 40 Mazdas took to the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for another exhilarating show. Mazda Road to 24 (#MRT24) scholarship driver Robby Foley (No.63, Atlanta Motorsports Group) pulled off a thrilling victory in the final laps over (second place driver/team.) The top-three cars traded positions repeatedly in the final four laps of the race while the lead changed in the last two laps of the race with Foley taking the win.
Dean II led the group to the green flag after securing the fastest lap time in qualifying. Unlike the previous day where competitors experienced a standing start, today’s race began with a rolling start.
The top five stayed close in the the first few laps, with Dean II leading, followed by Gallagher. As the race continued, the two leaders extended their advantage by more than two seconds., but lost that advantage under a yellow flag which flew with little more than 20 minutes remaining in the 45-minute race. Soon after, Foley, Dean and Gallagher swapped positions repeatedly.
With less than 2 laps remaining, Foley made a bold move in Turn 2 to take the lead, followed by Copeland and Gallagher in third. In the final lap, Dean II overtook Gallagher to finish third.
“Toward the beginning of the race, I was having some trouble with the brakes and that’s why I fell to third,” said race two winner Robby Foley, “and the guys behind me were racing really hard but I was in that bubble where I couldn’t quite catch John and Patrick. I was matching their times, but couldn’t catch them. The caution actually helped me out and I was able to get back to the leaders. I took a chance in Turn 2 near the end of the race and made it stick.”
Other notable finishes include rookie Nicholas Evancich (No.41 Sick Sideways Racing) who took the Idemitsu Hard Charger award with 20 positions gained moving from 33rd position to 13th place.
The next race of the 2016 Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich® Tires will be at Watkins Glen on May 13, 2016.
About SCCA Pro Racing
SCCA Pro Racing Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sports Car Club of America, Inc. – a 60,000-member organization dedicated to motorsports events. SCCA Pro Racing provides full-service organization, operation and sanction for numerous professional racing series, documented within this web site. Each series holds events on high-profile race weekends and annually crowns Champions. Known for its operational expertise, SCCA Pro Racing has been the choice of privately owned racing series, as well as those promoted by automobile manufacturers, to conduct all facets of their Championships.
About Mazda Motorsports
Mazda Motorsports boasts the most comprehensive auto racing development ladder system of any auto manufacturer in the world. The Mazda Road to 24 program offers a number of scholarships to advance drivers up the sports car racing ladder, beginning with the MX-5 Cup series and culminating with the Mazda Prototype team. The Mazda Road to Indy is a similar program that includes Mazda-powered categories of USF2000, Pro Mazda and Indy Lights. In grassroots road racing, more Mazdas race on any given weekend in North America than any other manufacturer. Mazda is also the title sponsor of the renowned Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif.