Photo: Mazda MX-5 Cup

Busy stretch for Mazda MX-5 Cup begins in Indy this weekend

Leave a comment

The Battery Tender Global MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires championship kicked off its 2017 season almost two full months ago at Barber Motorsports Park, but will now properly kick the meat of its season into high gear over the next five weeks.

With six races at three venues, including a back-to-back stretch this week at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and at Road America next week, then to the streets of Toronto July 14-16, the next five weeks will be pivotal in determining who emerges at the head of the cue for the full season in the single-make championship. After Toronto, there’s nearly a two-month break until the next round at Watkins Glen, Labor Day weekend in September.

At IMS, MX-5 Cup runs alongside the SVRA vintage weekend and Trans-Am.

Barber’s two races produced identical podiums: Patrick Gallagher of McCumbee McAleer Racing beating Winding Road Racing’s Mark Drennan and Sick Sideways Racing’s Nathanial Sparks, the defending series champion. As such, it leaves Gallagher in the points lead with 62 points to Drennan’s 51 and Sparks’ 45.

Gallagher, who at one stage raced in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda National class, has never actually race on the IMS road course. But having been a spectator in the past, he is amped for the opportunity now.

“I raced there in a quarter midget when I was six or seven, but I’ve never raced at the actual road course,” he said. “Of course, I had never been to Barber before either, and that turned out pretty well!  I mean, it’s Indianapolis, so it is really cool to get the chance to race there. I’ve been there as a spectator for the Indianapolis 500 and for the IMSA races.

“It’s probably one of the two or three tracks that you walk into and get goosebumps. I think you’ll see 15 cars nose to tail, and I’ve been told that it’s a pretty straight forward circuit. Steven (McAleer) has video from when he raced there in his ModSpace Mazda MX-5 ST car in IMSA so I’ve been looking at that.”

“Racing at the Speedway is something that every driver dreams of, no matter what their discipline is,” said David Cook, Manager, Mazda Motorsports Business Development. “We are fortunate to have this opportunity to add the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to the list of great tracks that Global MX-5 Cup competes on. With this track layout likely to encourage passing and so many closely matched cars, it should be some outstanding racing for our series that prides itself on parity.”

Both races will be live streamed this weekend on Mazda’s Facebook page and MazdaLive.com, Friday at 5:55 p.m. ET and Saturday at 5:10 p.m. ET.

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.