Watkins Glen, N.Y. (30 August 2017) – It is not even September yet, but Christmas could come extra early for Patrick Gallagher if he is able to lock down the 2017 Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires championship this weekend at Watkins Glen International.
Once again racing as part of a Verizon IndyCar Series event, the Global MX-5 Cup weekend will stage a double-race Saturday that could well see a champion crowned.
Patrick Gallagher has five wins so far this year, and has managed to finish every race on the podium. That pace and consistency has earned him a 61-point advantage heading into the upstate New York weekend over 2016 Global MX-5 Cup champion Nathanial “Sparky” Sparks as Gallagher looks to claim the $200,000 Mazda scholarship that goes to the Champion.
“I’d love nothing more than to clinch the championship at Watkins Glen for Howard Concrete Pumping, ModSpace and McCumbee McAleer Racing,” said Gallagher. “But I really am focused on going for wins, and the rest will take care of itself. I can’t be thinking about points. Our Global MX-5 Cup races are so wild and so competitive, you don’t really know where you are going to end up until the last lap so I’m just going to take each race as it comes and hopefully come out on top.”
While Gallagher has accumulated an impressive points lead, it belies the fact that the 2017 Global MX-5 Cup season has been the most competitive yet. Racing with cars that start on showroom floors, it is the driver that makes the difference with incredible parity in Global MX-5 Cup.
And the statistics back that up. In seven of the eight races run so far, the margin of victory was less than half a second, while six of the eight races had one or no caution periods. Every race has had multiple passes for the lead as well as averaging an amazing 214 passes for position.
In addition, eight different drivers have led races, and eight different drivers have earned the Battery Tender Hard Charger award.
While the overall championship picture could be close to finalization, the rookie of the year battle is still wide open. In addition to the two races on Saturday at Watkins Glen, the final two races of the Global MX-5 Cup season will be staged at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Just 21 points separate current leader Bryan Ortiz (Copeland Motorsports), Robert Stout (McCumbee McAleer Racing), and Matt Cresci (Mazda Shootout Winner/Slipstream Performance).
Ortiz broke through for his first podium with a run to third at Toronto, but will have to fend off Stout who has two race victories to his credit. Cresci has claimed two pole positions so far this season, but has some ground to make up if he will be seeing his name made out on the check from Mazda.
“I think that this rookie battle is shaping up to be very intense for the last four races,” said Ortiz. “Robert Stout and Matt Cresci are two great drivers and have shown that the three of us are contenders for podiums and wins every single weekend. So it is hard to get a distance from each other in the points! Copeland Motorsports has given me a great car every single weekend that makes it easier for me and I know that Watkins Glen and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca won’t be any different!”
— Global MX-5 Cup Autograph session: 11:45 AM Friday at the Fan Zone.
—Global MX-5 Cup is the first professional race series on the Mazda Road to 24 ladder, providing the series champion with a $200,000 scholarship and rookie-of the-year winner with a $50,000 scholarship. At Mazda, driving matters, and in the Global MX5 Cup that belief is absolutely true. Racing with cars that start on showroom floors with incredible parity, it is the driver that makes the difference. The cars all use the exact same SKYACTIV 2.0 liter engine as the MX-5 that you can buy at a Mazda dealer.
— 2017 is the 12th season for the Global MX-5 Cup series and the second for the Long Road Racing-built Global MX-5 Cup machine. The cars are race-prepared with the addition of safety equipment like a roll cage and over 200 motorsports-specific parts at Long Road Racing in Statesville, North Carolina.
—The cars are race-prepared with the addition of safety equipment like a roll cage and over 200 motorsports-specific parts at Long Road Racing in Statesville, North Carolina. 2017 is the 12th season for the Global MX-5 Cup series and the second for the Long Road Racing-built Global MX-5 Cup machine. The cars all use the exact same SKYACTIV 2.0 liter engine as the MX-5 that you can buy at a Mazda dealer. Most of the variables, and as much of the costs as possible, have been eliminated for the drivers and teams as everyone competes with the exact same Global MX-5 Cup machine. In fact, every MX-5 Cup car, which costs just $58,900 USD from Long Road Racing, comes from the same builder, further ensuring parity across the field.
—The Global MX-5 Cup is the North American edition of the all MX-5 championship.