MONTEREY, Calif. (13 October 2017) – That was fast. After just one day of official running, Nikko Reger’s (No. 01 Copeland Motorsports) wallet is now $5,000 heavier.
Reger scored the Pagid Super Pole Award on Friday after setting the fastest qualifying lap for the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Challenge at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Robby Foley (No. 63 Hooverspeed) will start from outside the front row for the first of Saturday’s two races.
The first of two races at Mazda Raceway will kick off at 12:40pm PST., the second at 5:00pm. Both races will be streamed live on the Mazda Facebook page.
A three-time race winner in 2016, Reger raced in four Global MX-5 Cup races this season. His return to the paddock saw him break the previous MX-5 Cup lap record, turning a 1:39.6464 in qualifying to win the Pagid Racing Super Pole Award for Saturday’s race. Reger was awarded $5,000 for the feat, part of the $120,000 prize package up for grabs this weekend at the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Challenge.
The driver with the best combined results in Saturday’s two races will emerge with $75,000 from Mazda. Runner-up pays $25,000 with $10,000 for third. BFGoodrich Tires is offering a $5,000 “Driver Enough” award to the racer completing the most passes between the two races.
“Coming back to Copeland Motorsports and getting back in an MX-5 Cup car, it’s like riding a bicycle,” Reger said. “We have been working all weekend. Copeland Motorsports has been grinding all day and all night to get the setup how I want it and it all seemed to come together for this qualifying session. I am a little scared, but really excited for the race and I think those are the feelings that I need. I know the competition is stiff but we have a strong car.”
Foley, another driver who raced a select schedule during the 2017 MX-5 Cup season, turned in a 1:39.8442 at the checkered flag. The 20-minute session was briefly halted for a red flag to tow John Dean III’s car out of the tires in Turn Six. Foley made the most of the remaining nine minutes when the session restarted.
“The red flag kind of caught us off guard,” Foley said. “Our strategy was to lay back and do our own thing because we have good speed alone. Unfortunately, coming to the red flag I was the last car in line so I couldn’t finish my first lap. When we went back out it was a little bit of a mess because everyone was trying to jockey for position. It took me until the end to get a decent run.”
Newly crowned 2017 Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Champion Patrick Gallagher (No. 29 McCumbee McAleer Racing) qualified third for Saturday’s race. He is the highest starting Series Champion out of four entered in the event.
“I am feeling pretty good,” Gallagher said. “Last time we were here (Mazda Raceway) we won from fourth and fifth. I have my buddy (Robby) Foley up there as well as my new teammate Kyle Kaiser, from Indy Lights, right there as well. It makes me confident that we are at the front of the field. These races will be a knock-down drag-out coming to the last five laps. Hopefully I can get a win for Howard Concrete Pumping, ModSpace, and CJ Wilson Mazda. Now my goal is to just go and get that $75,000.”
Luke Oxner (No. 77 White Racing) and Bryan Ortiz (No. 4 Copeland Motorsports) completed the top five.
Reigning Indy Lights Champion Kyle Kaiser (No. 72 McCumbee McAleer) just missed a top-five qualifying effort by 0.2028-second. He will start sixth.
Several international Global MX-5 Cup drivers are entered this weekend; Japanese drivers Takashi Ohi (No. 56 Winding Road Team TFB) and Tetsuya Yamano (No. 7 Winding Road Racing TFB) will start 13th and 16th, respectively. Yamano is the reigning MX-5 Cup Champion in Japan. From the Netherlands, European Spec Miata ace Bart Wubben (No. 27 McCumbee McAleer Racing) qualified 17th, just ahead of Bulgarian Assen Rachev (No. 42 Sick Sideways Racing).
Both races will be streamed live on the Mazda Facebook page.