Indianapolis, Ind. (16 June 2017) – After 45 minutes of flat out Idemitsu MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich® Tires racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the difference between getting the chance to kiss the bricks and missing out came down to just 0.0632-seconds.
Series rookie Robert Stout (No. 28 Lucas Oil Products/Lucas Oil Racing TV/SC Fuels McCumbee McAleer Racing) scored the razor thin win ahead of his teammate Patrick Gallagher (No. 29 Howard Pumping McCumbee McAleer Racing).
Nathanial “Sparky” Sparks (No. 8 Sick Sideways Racing) came home third to score another MX-5 Cup podium result, advancing 15 positions from 18th to earn him the Idemitsu Hard Charger Award. The margin between third and fourth was so close, just 0.0021 seconds, that Sparky was incredulous that he had in fact taken the position until being invited to the podium post race.
After starting from second on the grid, Stout took the lead from his McCumbee McAleer Racing teammate Gallagher on the second lap, heading the field for 25 of the 26 laps during the 45-minute race. The entire 45-minute race ran under green flag conditions from start to finish, and featured some 274 completed passes as the full field diced cleanly in the series first-ever run at the fabled Brickyard.
“We had worked together through qualifying and all of the practice sessions so it’s great to have that with my teammates,” said Stout. “The whole McAleer McCumbee Racing team acts like that – all genuine people and really good guys. I knew if we could get together then there was not a doubt in my mind we could walk away. We’ve had an awesome car all week. In the top-10 anybody can win one of these races. But what an awesome car. Thank you to everybody at Mazda, Idemitsu, and BFGoodrich® Tires – it was a really good race. I grew up 10 minutes from here so to win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is freakin’ awesome. I’m loving it and it is awesome for everybody at Lucas Oil and lucasoilracing.tv they’ve been behind me for so long.”
Gallagher, who won the opening two races of the season at Barber Motorsports Park, was immediately in Stout’s draft for the duration of the race. Gallagher looked to make a move in the closing moments of the race, but Stout maintained his edge at the checkered flag.
“If it wasn’t my teammate I think I could have got him,” said Gallagher. “I’m racing against (Mark) Drennan right now (for the Mazda Road to 24 $200,000 Championship.) We won the first two races of the year and have a cushion. Stout had a bad first race at Barber and he’s my teammate so I figured I would push him for the whole race and I would give it a shot on the last lap and if it wasn’t there then I’d just collect my points and keep this thing going.”
Meanwhile there was not only a battle for the final podium spot, but also a battle among rookies, all of whom have an eye on the $50,000 award on offer for the top-finishing rookie. Series rookies Bryan Ortiz and Matt Cresci were among the six-car fight for third. Ortiz was scored sixth ahead of Cresci at the line.
“It was great fun,” said Ortiz. “I wish we could have worked a little bit better to stay with the guys up front but it was very close. I tried to play the cards right to be at the front on the last lap. But it didn’t work out at the end. We had some contact. We’ll prepare and get ready for tomorrow.”
Patrick Wilmot, who held the rookie championship points lead heading into the Indianapolis event, suffered a mechanical failure with under five minutes remaining after running among the top-10.
Idemitsu MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich® Tires will stage Round 4 of the 2017 season on Saturday at 5:10 PM ET, with live streaming set to once again be hosted at www.facebook.com/mazda.
Full results can be found here: http://mx-5cup.com/results