Indianapolis, Ind. (17 June 2017) – Racing on a warm Midwestern summer day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the drivers in Idemitsu MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich® Tires impressed with a hard fought race on Saturday during changing weather and track conditions that featured another close race.
There were battles all the way through the field with more than 240 on-track passes in the 45-minute race. Impressively, it was a green flag run from start to checker yet again this weekend for MX-5 Cup, starting on a wet track, a great case study of the capabilities of the BFGoodrich® Tires.
After finishing nearly door to door to take second place in Friday’s Race 1 at IMS, Patrick Gallagher (No. 29 Howard Concrete Plumbing McCumbee McAleer Racing) scored his third MX-5 Cup victory of the season in Race 2 as he led a team 1-2 finish.
Gallagher crossed the line just two seconds ahead of his McCumbee McAleer Racing teammate Robert Stout (No. 28 Lucas Oil Products/Lucas Oil Racing TV/SC Fuels McCumbee McAleer Racing) after 25 laps, with Bryan Ortiz (No. 4 Copeland Motorsports) coming home third.
Series veteran Ara Malkhassian (No. 11 ALARA Racing) earned the Idemitsu Hard Charger Award putting all of his experience to work. After having started the race from 23rd on the grid, Malkhassian took the checkered flag in seventh and was pleased to be handed his Idemitsu by Max Papis (whose MPI steering wheels come on each MX-5 Cup machine) on the podium.
Just 30 minutes before the start of Race 2, the circuit was drenched in a sudden downpour as MX-5 sanctioning partner INDYCAR declared a wet race start and all 26 entries started the race on the rain specification BFGoodrich g-Force tires. While the circuit got drier with each successive lap, the lap times stayed consistently quick as the rain tires helped the drivers race through the wet at the start but still gave them all the grip they needed as the dry line emerged.
“These McCumbee McAleer guys are the best in the business,” said Gallagher, who was joined by his mom and dad as he got to kiss the bricks after the race. “This ModSpace/Howard Concrete Plumbing car – it was flying. Rob (Stout) made a little mistake there at the end so then it was just qualifying lap after qualifying lap after qualifying lap for me just trying to get it done there for the guys at ModSpace. To win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Father’s Day weekend, it doesn’t get much better than that. And with the conditions changing—these tires are unbelievable. BFGoodrich did a great job. It was dry and we were on wet tires. I don’t think there is another manufacturer out there that can claim that.”
After a transponder issue in the first race of the year cost Stout a shot at a points finish, the Indianapolis native has been working to make up as much ground as he can every race. He was happy to back up a victorious run on Friday with another podium on Saturday.
“It was a little difficult at first in the changing conditions, every lap it was changing,” said Stout. “I had some battles with Todd Lamb and Mark Drennan which let (teammate Patrick) Gallagher walk away a little. I thought I might have had a little better car and certainly once the track dried out, I got back into the draft and I think I did have the better car. I think I had a car capable of winning but it was on me. I made a mistake with a couple of laps to go, but I was just pushing hard. I had a bad first race at Barber so I’m trying to get every point that I can. I’m not disappointed at all with the result and it was awesome for us to go 1-2 again for McCumbee McAleer Racing!”
Joining the podium ceremonies was Copeland Motorsports’ driver and series rookie Ortiz, who was able to make his first series podium appearance after several promising runs to start the season.
“This is just my second weekend in this series and the team is doing an amazing job,” said Ortiz. “I think we had something similar yesterday but it didn’t turn out for us like this with a podium. For a while there I was working together with another car and we were able to separate ourselves. But then, something happened to his car and I was all by myself. So it was five laps at the end by myself trying to push really hard and we got our first podium. I’m very happy. The two guys up front worked together and were able to pull out again so it was a matter of making sure that third spot was mine. I’m really proud of my guys and this is for my dad!”
“This was a weekend of impressive driving throughout the field,” said David Cook, Manager, Mazda Motorsports Business Development. “It was fantastic to have two completely green flag 45-minute races. It once again demonstrated the depth of talent within the MX-5 Cup. I think next week, when we return to Road America will be another great event. We also appreciate the online viewers on www.MazdaLive.com”
After closing a competitive doubleheader at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Idemitsu MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich® Tires drivers and teams will visit another bucket list circuit for Rounds 5 & 6 next weekend at Road America as part of the Verizon IndyCar Series event weekend.
Live streaming will once again be provided by Mazda during the Road America weekend after the opening four rounds of MX-5 Cup have generated significant audience growth.
Full results can be found here: http://mx-5cup.com/results