Salinas, California (17 October 2017) – Throughout a weekend packed with headlines and incredible talent, Patrick Gallagher, in his ModSpace / Howard Concrete Pumping / CJ Wilson Mazda automobile, rose to the top for the final time in 2017 and took home the $75,000 Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Challenge grand prize. The victory was also accompanied by some outstanding performances by his teammates Robert Stout, Bart Wubben, and Kyle Kaiser who turned more than a few heads before the sun set on the 2017 Global Mazda MX-5 Cup season. Throughout the double header weekend with over $100,000 on the line, naturally, the champagne wasn’t sprayed without the hurdles of hard racing, controversy, and chaos in the way.
The first race of the weekend was a close quarter brawl between the top three competitors of Patrick Gallagher, Robby Foley, and Bryan Ortiz. Robby Foley held a strong lead over Gallagher for much of the race until the penultimate lap when Gallagher overtook Foley heading into the corkscrew who was then inadvertently spun by Ortiz. Patrick Gallagher escaped and took the checkered flag in what seemingly should have been in first place, however, a surprising call by the Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Challenge sanctioning body deemed Gallagher’s pass on Foley crossed the track limits. Due to this decision, Gallagher’s Race #1 victory was knocked down a peg into the second place finishing position which only motivated him even more to take home the Race #2 and grand prize victory.
Although less controversial, the second and final race of the double-header weekend was none less competitive. The field of almost 20 tightly knit Miatas snaked around Mazda’s home track while Patrick Gallagher swapped for the top spot within the first 15 minutes of the event. With just under 30 minutes left in the final round of the season, Gallagher made an impressive move on Bryan Ortiz for second and then on Kenton Koch for the top spot and never looked back.
Gallagher soared to a victory and earned the $75,000 grand prize with Robert Stout, in his Lucas Oil / Lucas Oil Racing TV / SC Fuels Mazda, coming home in an impressive 4th place after both rounds of the weekend, Kyle Kaiser came home 6th after an incredible display of talent, and Bart Wubben placed just outside the top 10 in 13th after seeing and competing on this track for the first time.
“Halfway through the day I began thinking that someone didn’t want us to win today,” Gallagher said in victory lane. “It’s great to have CJ Wilson Mazda, ModSpace and Howard Concrete Pumping come out here on the car and win $75,000 with me and it is cool to cap off a championship win with the Global MX-5 Cup Challenge. I owe it all to the boys at McCumbee McAleer Racing. I don’t know just yet how I am going to spend this money. I will have a little bit of fun with it, but my goal is to go racing in 2018. Working with the scholarship money and now this extra $75,000 certainly makes my 2018 season easier. Hats off to Mazda, there is no other company putting up $75,000 for a race, especially at a ladder-level series.”
Scoring back-to-back fourth place finishes to close out an impressive rookie season, Robert Stout was too thrilled to hide his excitement. “What a blast,” exclaimed Stout! “We ran into a few mechanical issues throughout the weekend, but more importantly, I need to piece together a qualifying session. I just can’t seem to find myself in a position to utilize the draft so I had my work cut out for me. Coming up to 4th in both races and having the fastest car on the track throughout race one feels like an accomplishment of its own. I can’t say thanks enough to the guys at MMR for all the hard work they did this weekend!”
Reigning Indy Lights champion, Kyle Kaiser, performed extremely well and noted that the nature of the racing was what sets this series apart from the rest. “The Global MX-5 Cup weekend was a great learning experience for myself,” explained Kaiser. “MMR did an incredible job all weekend helping me learn the specifics of the car and getting me up to speed quickly. I was happy with the qualifying effort, but the racing proved to be very different from anything I’ve experienced before. While the final results from the weekend weren’t what I was hoping for, I’m walking away from the weekend with a lot of experience gained and many new friends in the racing community.”
The event’s sole European entry, Bart Wubben, was immensely gracious and excited following his performance at Mazda Raceway. “I had a great race, though the cars were a lot different than the Spec Miatas we race in the Netherlands,” said Wubben. “The MMR team did a great job with setting up the car and going through all the data to help and me improve my lap times. I would like to thank Mazda for giving me this great chance to race against the best and the MMR team for getting me up to speed and feeling so welcome. I hope to come back another time with a bit more practice!”
Vice President of Motorsports for ModSpace, William Mann, was vastly pleased with the success of the team. “MMR had an amazing race season,” stated Mann. “Each week the team showed up to the track with a competitive car and a will to win. This, combined with the outstanding driving skills of Patrick Gallagher, proved to be a winning combination. The team’s success was a reflection of their hard work, dedication and passion for continuous improvement. This is the same model that ModSpace uses in our daily business endeavors and it makes us proud that MMR carries our corporate branding on their cars.”
Team owners and founders, Chad McCumbee and Stevan McAleer reflected Mann’s satisfaction. “It’s truly hard to put into words the year that MMR has had,” said McCumbee. “Winning the biggest race ever for an MX-5 with Patrick this week is incredible. Having such a strong event with all our cars solidified the season for our team. I am so proud to be a part of the history made. A huge thank you to Mazda, ModSpace, Lucas Oil and all of our amazing partners.”
“What a way to finish up 2017 with Chad and MMR,” McAleer added. “This event brought out a lot of good guys and Patrick (Gallagher) didn’t allow the list to faze him; he had the same focus he had all season. The pace Robert (Stout) and Kyle (Kaiser) had also showed that they were both in contention for the overall win, too, which continued to show how strong our cars have been in 2017. This season will be tough to replicate next year and although our driver lineup is not complete yet, it is already looking very strong and so it is setting up to be another fantastic season for MMR.”