Moves into 2nd in Mazda Global MX-5 Cup
(BROWNSBURG, IN – Aug. 13, 2018) Robert Stout drove his No. 28 Lucas Oil Racing TV / Magic-Dry Absorbent / SC Fuels / Impact Race Products / Mazda MX-5 Cup car to solid 3rd and 4th place finishes in Rounds 7 and 8 of the Mazda Global MX-5 Cup season at famed Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, July 27-29. With two race weekends left in the 2018 season, Stout, driving for McCumbee McAleer Racing, sits in Championship contention, second in the Driver’s Standings.
“I love this place, it’s the first big track I ever competed at and we’ve been fast here but for some reason we always have crazy things happen here,” Stout said at the end of the weekend. “All things considered this weekend was no different I guess other than the racing Gods allowed us to finish strong despite the craziness,” chuckled Stout.
Success in racing is all about managing and measuring risks related to the rewards. And the risk taking began in qualifying where the competitors use their quickest lap to line up for race one and their second quickest for race two.
“We had a serious discussion about our approach to qualifying and decided to sit out the first couple of laps of the short 20-minute session,” said Stout following qualifying. “It was a big risk because if there was a wreck that cancelled the session we’d start last in both races. However, it was early morning and we knew the track would not come in until the 3rd lap or so and the magic in these tires usually happens in the first two laps. We wanted a shot at the pole so we waited and it almost bit us. My dad Ken was spotting and put us in a perfect hole, but just one lap in officials threw the red flag for a crash in turn 9.”
With the decision made to give up the first couple of laps, Stout and teammate Joey Bickers (in the No. 34 machine) waited for spotter Ken Stout to send them out. With perfect timing, three laps in and six minutes gone the drivers got the call. Both drivers went out nose to tail to work the draft to their advantage. With the warm-up lap complete they started their first flyer but the red flag flew stopping all action on the track sending the entire field back to pit road. With the clock ticking down in the short 20-minute session they got the all green to go with less than five minutes remaining. The out lap used up more than a minute of that leaving the MMR team drivers with less than three minutes to complete their two required laps. With Stout clearing the way they completed their first lap with just 50 seconds remaining as they began their final lap. Stout jumped from 17th to 5th on the board and Bickers to 3rd! For round 8 both drivers improved on their final lap with Stout in 4th and Bickers up to 2nd. The top six drivers were separated by a mere .07 seconds at the end of the session.
“The plan worked, but it was sketchy for sure,” said Stout. “My quick lap included a pass around a slower car that cost me some time. There’s no question we would’ve gone to the pole with one more lap but no complaining here, we ended up decent.”
Starting on the inside of row 3 for Saturday’s Round 7, the seas parted, and Stout shot right to the front of the 31-car pack by the third turn, but as always in the Global MX-5 Cup series he didn’t stay there for long. The drafting games began with a 12-car pack. Stout and Nathan Sparks (in the No. 8 car) battled for the lead in the first few laps then Hernan Palermo in the No. 20 car jumped in the fray pushing Stout back to 3rd. Now in a furious battle with points leader Nikko Reger in the No. 01 machine, the two went side-by-side from turns 6 through 11, Stout hit the inside curb of turn 11, launching his car up onto the right-side tires and completely sideways at 80 MPH! Stout with full counter steer somehow saved it, but gave up a spot falling to 4th.
Watch Stout and Reger put on a show as they go side-by-side at Mid-Ohio
Just two laps later a hard charging John Dean in the No. 16 machine worked his way up to fifth behind Stout and had a huge run on Stout down the long Mid-Ohio Straightaway. It looked to be an easy pass until Dean decided to lean on Stout in an effort to push his way into the draft line. Stout gave a little but then held his ground until they made contact. Dean made an aggressive attempt to shove his way in causing both drivers to go spinning off the track into the grass at 115 MPH! Stout miraculously managed to keep from hitting the wall while spinning in a complete 360 sliding back out on to the track, grabbed a gear and getting right back into the fight only losing four spots in the process. Dean who was second in points was not so fortunate as he crashed into the wall ending his entire weekend and any chance at the Championship.
Watch the incident in slow motion and on-board with Robert Stout
Digging deep Stout scrapped his way back up to 5th for the closing laps of the 45-minute contest. With six minutes left Stout went three-wide into turn 4 to pass Selin Rollan in the red No. 87 car and again he and Reger went side-by-side in turns 4 through 8 as they battled for 3rd. With Stout in 4th the top three drivers battled for the lead with Noaker taking the point. On the last lap they headed down the long straight and with a push from Reger, Palermo took the lead in turn 4. Palarmo led 14-yr-old Robert Noaker in the No. 13 machine and series points leader Reger. Just three turns from his first win Palarmo went sideways in turn 11 and Noaker just barely squeezed by to take the lead. Palarmo tried to gather it up as his teammate Reger was trying to pass him around the outside of the next turn. With Palermo trying to correct he slid sideways again and hit Reger knocking him off the track and back to eighth. Stout was far enough back to stay out of the wreck, but close enough to drive by and take the final podium position.
“I can’t remember them all but this has to be in the top three craziest races I’ve ever been in,” said Stout. “I’m not sure what was going through Dean’s mind, but it was instant karma when he hit the wall! This is without question the most intense series I’ve ever been part of! It is 45 minutes of 100% concentration just fractions of an inch away from a wreck or a win at any time! A lot of the fans came here to watch the Indy cars but we just gave them the most exciting race of the weekend and we’re gonna give it to them again tomorrow! The Mazda MX-5 Cup series is arguably the best racing on the planet!”
Thirty-one cars lined up for Sunday’s Round 8 and the madness started again. The aggression of Round 7 was replaced with precision driving as again there was a huge pack of some 15 cars all grouped together. Stout again got a great start jumping to 2nd behind rival Bryan Ortiz in the No. 4 machine. Ortiz lead the first few laps until Stout took over with a big push from Sparks. Stout hung on to the lead for the next handful of laps before getting shuffled back into a battle for 4th. With a good run into the key hole section of the track, Stout made a bid for 2nd only to get shuffled right back to 4th two turns later.
With 12 minutes to go the top 8 fanned out heading into turn 4 as Stout made another move from 5th to take over 3rd but was again denied as he fell into 4th. At the seven-minute mark the top 4 of Sparks, Ortiz, Bickers and Stout broke away just a bit only to have Todd Lamb (in the No. 84 car) join the gang with just three minutes to go. The clock was ticking down as the racers started the final two laps.
Again, the group of five fanned out at the end of the straightaway heading into turn 4. Bickers made it three wide as he went from 3rd to 1st while Lamb shuffled Stout back to 5th heading into the last lap. The order would stay the same until the entry of turn 4 for the last time. Sparks pushed Ortiz to the front and Bickers back to 3rd, Stout and Lamb made contact going side-by-side as they battled for 4th. Stout regained the spot as he hung on to 4th across the line for another top 5 finish!
“Man, another great battle right to the end,” said Stout after Round 8. “We had a car good enough to win but with all the three-wide stuff in the last couple of laps it just never fell our way. All in all, it was a solid weekend and a big points weekend for us as well. We’re back in this thing for the $200,000 Championship check with four more rounds to go. I have to thank my guys from McCumbee McAleer Racing for the great car and driver coaching, they give me a chance to win every time! We’ll give it another go in Portland.”
Stout’s 3rd and 4th place finish propelled him up from sixth to second in National Championship points and just 11 out of first. With four rounds of racing to go the Championship is far from settled.
You can watch both races from Mid-Ohio in their entirety at Mazda’s YouTube page.
Round 7: https://youtu.be/bwLm1Dj2i_8
Round 8: https://youtu.be/Ycbp-Vjj7io
2018 Battery Tender Global MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires schedule:
March 3-4 (TEST) Barber Motorsports Park, Birmingham, Ala.
(With Verizon IndyCar)
March 23-25 Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas (With Pirelli World Challenge)
April 20-22 Barber Motorsports Park, Birmingham, Ala. (With Verizon IndyCar)
June 22-24 Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wis. (With Verizon IndyCar)
July 27-29 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, Ohio (With Verizon IndyCar)
Aug. 31-Sept. 2 Portland International Raceway, Portland, Ore. (With Verizon IndyCar)
Sept. 28-29 Monticello Motor Club, Monticello, N.Y. (Headliner)
Challenge Cup TBD
About Battery Tender Global MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires:
The MX-5 Cup race cars start as complete MX-5 road cars from the Hiroshima, Japan factory before being transported to engineering development partner Long Road Racing in Statesville, North Carolina where they are produced into a race car. The process includes disassembly of the production car, welding and paint of a full roll cage and interior, and assembly of the race car, adding more than 250 motorsports-specific parts. Other components of the car, including the SKYACTIV 2.0 liter engine are sealed to ensure even competition and a cost-effective platform.
The Battery Tender Global MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires is the signature spec series for the Road to 24 (#MRT24), the sports car counterpart to the Road to Indy (#MRTI). On both paths, Mazda-powered champions earn a scholarship to advance their career. The MX-5 Cup champion earns a $200,000 scholarship.
About Lucas Oil Products:
Founded in 1989 by Forrest and Charlotte Lucas, Lucas Oil Products, Inc. has established itself as one of the fastest-growing lubrication product lines in the consumer automotive aftermarket, featuring a line of engine oils, greases, gear lubes, problem-solving additives, and car-care products. Through innovative product research and development, along with aggressive marketing programs, Lucas Oil has established itself as a worldwide leader in the lubrication industry. Motorsports has always been part of the Lucas Oil culture and the cornerstone of the company’s marketing strategy. Such passion for motorsports has inspired Lucas Oil to sponsor many race teams, events and series at all levels, including, NHRA, IRL, ASCS, NASCAR, IHRA and many more. Lucas Oil has also taken ownership and operational control of a number of high profile racing properties, such as the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, Lucas Oil Drag Boat Series, Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League, Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, Lucas Oil Modified Series, Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, MO. and the Lucas Oil I-10 Speedway in Blythe, CA.
About Robert Stout:
Robert Stout has been racing for 12 years, eight of those at the professional level of sports cars and oval racing including Grand-Am/Rolex series, Continental Tire series, IMSA, Pirelli World Challenge, King of the Wing Sprint car series (competing in 900HP asphalt winged sprint cars) and the USAC Silver Crown. Stout has driven sports cars across all classes including GT, GS, GTS, ST, and TC.
With a diverse background of motorsports he is also an instructor at the Bondurant High Performance Driving School and the BMW Performance Center West Thermal, CA. honing his skills at least five days a week working with and competing against some of the best drivers in the country. Robert is also very proud to say he’s had the honor of working with some of the elite members of the armed forces including the Green Berets and Navy Seals.
About McCumbee McAleer Racing:
In 2015, North Carolina’s Chad McCumbee joined forces with 2012 Playboy MX-5 Cup Champion Stevan McAleer to form McCumbee McAleer Racing (MMR).
Based in McCumbee’s hometown of Supply, North Carolina, MMR features what is one of the most competitive driver pairings in North American road racing. McCumbee, 30, is a former stock car driver, with four years of NASCAR Camping World Truck and Sprint Cup Series. “Chad’s first ever sports car race was actually the same weekend as my first sports car race in the Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup as team mates under CJ Wilson Racing at Sebring International Raceway,” says McAleer, first-hand witness to McCumbee’s rapid transition to road racing. He has completed this with unusual success, highlighted by a sensational pole position in qualifying at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
A resident of Cold Spring, New York, McAleer (30) is a native of Glasgow, Scotland who won the 2012 MX5 Playboy Club Championship with CJ Wilson Racing in dominating fashion, and is considered by many as the best MX-5 driver in the country. The four-time Scottish karting champion was again at the wheel of an MX-5 in 2013 and 2014. Competing in the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Championship with CJ Wilson Racing and ModSpace Motorsports, Stevan has forged a reputation for sheer speed and precise aggressiveness.
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