Foley Had the Speed to Win at CTMP but Luck Wasn’t On His Side

Bowmanville, On. (July 11-13, 2014)

Robby was greatly looking forward to heading North of the border to CTMP (Mosport), one of his favorite tracks, one where he enjoyed great success the year before scoring the most points out of his competition in 2013.  The schedule was pretty tight throughout the weekend as both races would be held on Saturday.  Testing kicked off on Thursday morning where Robby immediately had a power steering problem, that turned out to be a bad power steering pump.  Once able to be tested the car was also deemed to be down on power.  Practice 1 began and Robby finished P4.  The top three cars were constantly drafting, so Robby was confident with his pace for qualifying only being .7 off of the leaders.  Practice 2 was the same story where Robby just tried to refine his setup for qualifying.

Robby anticipated based on new tires and the weather change that the car would tighten up so he made some setup changes.  He anticipated correctly and nailed the car setup and was able to put the car on pole for race 1 and P2 for race 2.  Race 1 was going as planned as Robby lead the majority of the race occasionally swapping positions because of the draft until he was run off in turn 3 sending him back to P6.  he would eventually finish 4th, but understandably Robby was upset with the finish.  “It is extremely frustrating to dominate the whole race, and come up short,” explained Foley.  “I didn’t appreciate getting run off in turn 3, it wasn’t a move that would have necessitated a penalty, just not very respectful racing.”  Although Robby finished 4th he earned better than 3rd place points on the strength of leading the most laps and leading a lap earning him some bonus points.  In addition Robby also eclipsed the previous track record making him the new track record holder!

Race 2 was a similar story, except the pack got split as Lucas Bize and Ben Albano were able to draft away from the rest of the pack.  Robby was leading the other pack in P3 for literally the entire race until he was drafted by on the last lap into turn 8 putting him in 5th.  He then made a move on the outside of turn 9, into turn 10 passing for 4th.

Robby was overall frustrated with the weekend considering he had the speed to win and looks forward to getting after it at Road America.

Robby would like to thank his parents, Mazda, Skip Barber, BF Goorich, and SCCA Pro for their support.

Consistent weekend at the Houston GP puts Foley back in the Championship

Houston, Tx. (June 27-29, 2014)

It was  a hot weekend in Houston, but Robby was looking forward to getting going on the tight technical street circuit around NRG Park.  The track takes Robby back to his autoxing roots except there are walls to hit rather than cones.  It was a short weekend with no promoter test day so on track action began right with official practice.  In practice 1 Robby held P1 for the majority of the session, but then would eventually end P3.  It would be a similar story in practice 2 where Robby ended P3 as well.  With new sticker tires for qualifying Robby was ready to attack for the pole.  In the early laps Robby was able to put down a competitive time that would put him P1 where he remained for a while only to be bumped down to P3 in the final minutes, which seemed to be a reoccurring theme throughout the weekend.

Race 1 was a hair raising battle throughout the 45 min duration.  Robby got a great start and was able to pass for the lead on the first lap.  The battle up front was fierce between Drake Kemper, Ben Albano and Foley.  Eventually Robby ended up in P3 after a hard fought battle in the extreme heat.  Overall Robby showed good pace and his 3rd place finish was excellent for his points in the championship.  Race 2 was also a hard fought battle in the extreme Houston heat.  Robby began to have a bit of brake fade as the pedal got longer and longer.  “I probably wasn’t kind to my brakes in race 1,” explained Foley.  “I just simply overheated them and warped the rotors slightly.”  So besides the extreme heat and competition, Robby had to be mindful of his fading brakes.  Throughout the rest of the race Robby was focused on maintaining P3 which he successfully did.  On the strength of these two third place finishes Robby is now back in the championship fight.

Robby would like to personally thank his parents, Mazda, Skip Barber, BF Goodrich, and SCCA Pro Racing for the opportunities he has been given.

Foley Shows Speed Once Again but Lacks Racing Luck at Mazda Raceway

Salinas, Ca. (May 1-3, 2014)

Robby was looking forward to Mazda Raceway, hoping to rebound from his misfortunes at Sebring.  The weekend schedule was hectic having the bulk of action on Friday.  The weekend kicked off with testing on Thursday where Robby was quick despite the tricky conditions.  “The weather was uncharacteristically hot for Monterey, California, making the track even more slick than usual,” explained Foley.  At the end was testing Robby was confident in the car and was looking forward to getting on with the weekend.

 

Friday was a very busy day for the Mazda MX-5 Cup by BFG.  The day started at 8am with practice and would end at 6:30 pm with race 1.  That made for a total of 4 sessions, and 2 hours 15 min of track time.  Robby was fast early posting the fastest time in practice 1 and overall in practice in the Skip Barber Pro Challenge class.  “I felt like I was struggling a bit to come to terms with the track, but it appeared that everyone else was too,” said Robby, “I was able to dial in the car quickly and put down a quick time.”  Robby was confident going into qualifying being quickest in practice.  Robby was able to put down a decent time early in the session putting him P3, but as the tires came in he was able to improve his time eventually ending up P2 for both races.  Next was Race 1 where Robby got a great start, but unfortunately missed 2nd gear dropping him to 4th place before turn 2.  Then going into turn 5 Robby had some contact with another driver at the apex.  The situation was ruled to be a racing incident and no action was taken by the stewards.  Robby then made a few passes  and settled into second place where he ran for the rest of the race behind Ben Albano.  The top 3 was Ben Albano, Robby Foley, and Drake Kemper.  “I missed the setup a bit with tire pressures,” Robby explained.  “We’ve been fighting some cross weight issues all weekend and we were trying to counter it with tire pressures, and the setup wasn’t quite there.”  Robby was looking forward to Race 2 knowing the potential speed in the car.

 

Race 2 was scheduled first thing Saturday morning, but due to fog the race was delayed.  Once the track was clear the cars were set out on a series of pace laps and as determined before the cars left the grid the race would be started with a rolling start, as opposed to the usual standing start.  Robby got a very good start leading by the start finish line, but settled back to second as cars stacked up into T2.  The entire race was back and forth between Robby, Lucas Bize, Ben Albano and Drake Kemper.  Robby was running a strong second, battling with Drake Kemper when he started to experience transmission issues.  A few laps later with roughly 10 minutes left in the race Robby’s transmission got stuck in fourth gear.  Luckily he was able to punch it out of being stuck, but the result was him dropping back to 5th place where he would finish out the race.  “So far this season has been really frustrating,” said Foley.  “I have had the speed to win, but I’ve just been lacking the racing luck.”

 

Robby looks forward to Houston where hopefully he can turn his luck around.

 

He’d also like to personally thank Mazda, BF Goodrich, SCCA Pro Racing, Skip Barber, and his parents for their support.

Opening Rounds of the MX-5 Cup by BFG at Sebring Prove Unlucky for Foley

Sebring, Fla. (March 11-14, 2014)

Sebring once again marked the beginning of the MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich.  Robby was looking forward to the week, especially because of some off season tech changes within the Skip Barber Mazdaspeed Pro Challenge Series.  There is now a set minimum weight, differing from last year where the cars were ballasted to 200 pound drivers.  This new minimum weight is a change Robby was looking forward to, because for the first time he would be on equal weight with the rest of the field.  The week began with a test day on Tuesday.  The first session the car was tested by one of the Skip Barber testers to ensure it was on par with the rest of the field.  The testing process done by Skip Barber is in an effort to make the cars as equal as possible.  Robby’s car had a bit of an electrical issue during when it was being tested.  Then Robby went out at the end of the session and the electrical bug turned out to be the positive battery cable being loose.  This resulted in the car shutting off, freaking out the abs and thus sending Robby into a spin.  There was no harm done, he was just stranded in the car with no electrical power and had to be towed in.  The second test was a repeat of the first with the car being tested again because of the electrical problem.  When Robby went back out he ran a few laps and made some changes with the setup.  Following the second test session he was confident with the car and was looking forward to the rest of the week.

 Wednesday would be a busy day with two official practice sessions and qualifying.  The first practice was at 8 am.  Robby went out and ran a few laps to build temperature in the tires then came in to make a few subtle setup changes.  He then went back out and clicked of a few fast laps putting him P1 in the session by .7 sec.  “The car felt really good,” said Foley.  “It was really well balanced through turns 1 and 17, which is key for a quick lap around here.”   The track conditions changed drastically for practice 2 with an enormous headwind and an increase in humidity.  This caused times to slow down significantly, and with that in mind Robby never really ran hard, knowing that he could sit on his lap from practice 1.  For qualifying Foley was lined up first in the Skippy class on the strength of his quick time from practice 1.  In the opening laps of the Skip Barber qualifying Robby had to bed in new front pads and rotors while also scrubbing in new tires.  Early on it was evident to Robby that the car tightened up on new tires, something he anticipated but opted not to adjust for.  “I anticipated the car would tighten up a bit, but not to the extent that it did,” explained Foley.  “I did relatively limited laps on the first set of tires, so I gambled and figured the car would behave similarly on the new set, and I was wrong.  Robby also found it hard to get a clean lap.  “With the qualifying format the way it is, the Skip Barber cars are held for 10 min while the Cup cars theoretically put down their fast times, so we are released often times into traffic making it difficult for a clean lap,” explained Robby.  Because of that combination Robby was unable to match his speed from practice 1 and qualified 3rd for race 1, and 2nd for race 2.

 Race one was scheduled early afternoon on Thursday.  Robby was looking forward to the race knowing he had the speed to be out front.  The beginning of the race proved to be a bit hectic, but Foley made the best of it capitalizing on a good start.  Robby was P2 by turn one before he settled in behind leader Bryan Hixon, as the two passed some of the back of the cup field.  By turn 10 Robby was P1, holding strong position.  “It was a bit awkward passing for the lead, because I was fully alongside Bryan coming to the braking zone of turn 10 when a yellow flag came out.  From my perspective I had completed the pass before the local yellow, and that turned out to be the case so I maintained my position.”  In the following laps Foley and Drake Kemper traded the lead a few times.  The two worked well together and were able to draft, pulling a substantial gap over P3.  Then in the ensuing laps Robby put his head down to pull a 3 second gap over P2.  Then a yellow fell which is exactly what Robby didn’t want to see.  There was a big crash in turn 17 causing a lengthy yellow stacking the field back up.  Going back to green Robby got a great start and passed a few more Cup cars  giving him a good gap once again, but towards the end of the race it started to get a bit dicey.  There was roughly 8 minutes left in the race and Robby was in a pack of Cup cars, driving smart and drafting to bring the car home, when he was hit in the hairpin.  The driver popped late in the braking zone going into the hairpin (turn 7), and totally lost reference of where he was in the braking zone, and subsequently hit Robby in the right rear quarter panel spinning him.  Robby was then sitting 90 degrees to traffic and was hit once again in the right rear by a driver who simply had no where to go.  It was a big hit for Robby as he was sitting there, and the other driver was doing roughly 60 mph.  The car was heavily damaged but surprisingly there was very little suspension damage.  Once Robby got going again he was back to P7 and in the last two laps made a few passes to make it back up to P4, a good result for such terrible luck after dominating the race.  In addition Robby also broke the track record, previously held by Kenton Koch by .4 sec, which was a positive he took from that race.  “The car was absolutely hooked up,” explained Foley, “We really nailed the setup, and the car came in towards the middle of the race just as I planned.  I was able to click off some good laps to build a gap, it’s just hugely unfortunate we got taken out, but that’s racing.”

 After the huge disappointment in race 1 Foley was looking to get after it in Race 2.  He didn’t get a good start not being able to see the lights.  That combined with a missed shift sent Robby back to P6.  From the drop of the green it was apparent the car was not quite right.  Robby was driving the same car as the day before with the big damage and it was evident from the hit there was a bend in the right rear suspension so small that it was unclear to the eye.  Subsequently the car was a handful particularly in the high speed sections.  With many long cautions Robby had to settle for another P4, again not bad considering the contact in race 1.

 Because Robby had led the most laps in Race 1, and led a single lap he earned two extra bonus points, giving him third place points, and on the strength of that, along with his P4 in race 2, Robby sits third in points.

 “Overall it was a frustrating weekend, but I’m happy with the speed I showed and hopefully race 1 was a good indication of what I can do,” said Robby.  “After the bad luck I just can’t wait to get after it at Mazda Raceway.”

Robby would like to personally thank, Skip Barber, Mazda, SCCA Pro Racing, BFG, and his parents for supporting him and making it all possible!

Another Fun Weekend with RST Performance at the VIR 13 hr

Alton, Va. (Oct. 22-23, 2013)

Robby would once again drive with RST Performance in a long endurance race. Virginia International Raceway, one of Robby’s favorite tracks would provide the setting for the 13 hr event.  The RX-8 would once again be run on the Dunlop Direzza Z-II, but this time the team would compete in STU, a class with a wide variety of cars, with a wide variety of speed among them, but 13 hours is a long time and anything could happen.

Friday began with a test day where all the drivers split time.  The Blethen brothers (Stephen & Raymond) would share the car with Robby, and his dad.  After a minor transmission issue the car was feeling good going into qualifying.  Robby would qualify the car, and did some competitive times early in the session, but traffic was proving to be tough.  “Anytime you would catch a slower car your lap was blown,” explained Foley.  “For a fast lap you just had to hope that you didn’t catch someone in the esses or down to oak tree.  You had to be extremely efficient in traffic to have any hopes of a quick lap.”   Robby qualified 25th overall out of 56 which was good considering the street tires.

Robby started the race and did the first 2 hours and 20 minutes with the only hiccup being a speeding penalty.  The ensuing hours of the race went as planned with solid pit stops from the RST Crew, and generally good driving from the drivers.  Robby got back in the car for the second to last stint during the night and ran a solid hour stint doing decent times.  “I love driving at night,” explained Robby.  “The track is so dark that you can’t see much so you get into this zone.  There is nothing else in the world like it.”  Raymond Blethen would finish out the race strong.

After the 13 hr duration the RST Performance team finished 19th overall, and 4th in class.

Robby would like to personally thank the RST team for giving him the opportunity to drive again!

Consistency and Good Decisions in the Final Races at Road Atlanta Help Foley to Finish 3rd in the Championship

Atlanta, Ga. (Oct. 15-18, 2013)

Robby was greatly looking forward to getting to one of his favorite tracks, Road Atlanta for the week of Petit Lemans.  Following Houston where there was no race Robby was sitting second in the points.  Robby was competing for the second place prize of a free full season with Lucas Bize and Drake Kemper.  Going into the weekend Robby knew he had to finish on the podium at least once to finish 3rd or better in the year end points.  The Weekend didn’t start off well because it was apparent that his car was down on power.  After testing the car was deemed to be about 1.5 seconds off of the pace, but our ace crew chief at Skip Barber was confident that he could get some power back in it.

Practice 1 was set to kick off Wednesday morning.  Robby would have a busy day with two official practices and qualifying.  After practice one it was apparent that Robby’s car was still down on power so he elected to switch to another car that he had never driven.  Practice two went better, but Robby had to re-tune his setup for the new car so he didn’t have an opportunity to put in a fast lap leaving him 4th fastest after both practices.

Qualifying was set for the end of the day, and Robby didn’t really have any expectations not knowing what he had in his setup.  Drafting would also be a factor because while you aren’t allowed to draft in MX-5 Cup, officials were only monitoring the front and back straights, leaving the rest of the track fair game for drafting.  Right off the bat Robby put in two fairly good laps leaving him P2 early on, but later in the sessions those times wouldn’t stand dropping back to P4.  “It was a bit of a frustrating qualifying for me,” Foley said.  “I was struggling with traffic a bit, and I didn’t feel like I had the car under me,” explained Robby.

Robby was optimistic for Race 1 scheduled for first thing Thursday morning only to wake up to rain.  “I love driving in the rain,” said Robby, “but with the championship on the line I would have much rather run in the dry.  There are just too many variables that you don’t have control over,” Foley explained.  None the less Robby would be starting 4th.  At the start Robby held fourth position and pretty much ran there the whole race.  Foley got stuck behind a train of 4 Playboy cars making it very difficult to try to catch Drake Kemper who was running in 3rd.  In the end Robby finished in 4th place in race 1 which was frustrating, but the podium played in Robby’s favor.  Lucas Bize, who was 4th in the standings finished 1st, Kenton Koch finished 2nd, and Drake Kemper 3rd.  This essentially created a tie among the three fighting for second.

Race 2 was also set for early morning on Friday, but the start time wasn’t definite.  Because of the rain the previous days the NASCAR K&N Series had no track time, so they were thinking about holding a half hour session before the MX-5 Cup race, but because the track was still damp they elected to not go out leaving the MX-5 Cup race to start normal time.  Robby would once again start from 4th position, and quickly moved up to third where he would stay until there was a caution.  Following the long yellow that resulted in the field being parked on the back straight Robby made a bold move to get around Lucas Bize for second.  Robby had his sights set on leader Kenton Koch when Lucas re-passed him, taking a Playboy Cup car with him.  In the ensuing laps Robby was passed by a few more Playboy Cup cars on the back straight making it hard to keep pace with Lucas, and as a result never had a chance to pass Lucas leaving him to finish P3.  Robby was still happy with the 3rd place finish.  “Me and Lucas were fighting hard for it,” said Robby.  “It was a very clean race with just hard fought driving, one of the best races I’ve ever had,” explained Foley.

Most importantly on the strength of his third place finish Robby finished in the money for the year end championship in 3rd place earning him the funds to run a half season in the Pro Series next year, a goal Robby set out to achieve at the beginning of the year.

The weekend finished with the year end banquet emceed by the great Terry Earwood.  It was a night of laughs and awards; a great way to cap off the year.

“This was a great year for me,” said Robby.  “Looking back where I came from in 2010 not being able to walk, to now competing professionally in motorsports I almost can’t believe it.  I wouldn’t have been able to get here without the help and support from foremost my parents, and also everyone who supports the series, Mazda, Skip Barber, SCCA Pro Racing, BF Goodrich, Hawk Brakes.  I truly feel blessed for the opportunities I’ve had, and I look forward to what is to come,” Foley explained sincerely.

Once again Robby would like to personally thank everyone who made his first year in professional racing possible!

 

 

 

 

Eventful Weekend in Houston Ended Before it Started

Houston, Tx. (Oct. 4-6, 2013)

Robby was looking forward to the Houston GP weekend at Reliant Park, as it would be his first street course race.  Due to the packed schedule of the event, and the Indycar double-header the Playboy Mx-5 Cup would see limited track time, making the it difficult to learn the track.  Considering the limited track time Robby understood the importance of attacking the first practice to learn the track as quickly as possible.  The first practice, set for 7pm was delayed because of track surface problems which resulted in a tire wall chicane on the front stretch, but otherwise it went well for Robby, and although he wasn’t able to get a clean lap, he pretty much had an open run through every corner, which was paramount in learning the limits of the track.  “The curbs were very tricky at this track,” explained Foley, “It was hard to judge how much curb to take.”  The track designers of the GP of Houston tried to extend the braking zones for the Indycars, so they placed apex curbing through what would normally be the optimal line.  This made the track more narrow, which made it nearly impossible to go side by side.  At the conclusion of practice Foley found himself in P3 which he was happy with considering the traffic.

Qualifying, like practice would be under the lights, but that didn’t stop the heat.  Even at 7pm it was still in the 90’s with 100% humidity making it pretty hot in the car.  There was a brief red flag at the beginning of qualifying, before the Skip Barber cars were sent out.  The session resumed, and when the Skip Barber cars went out after the first lap Robby was fast, he maintained P2 throughout the session until he had a brake fade issue, sending him lightly into the tire wall.  Robby was able to continue, but the brake fluid was boiled eliminating the possibility for another fast lap.  “It was very hard to keep the brakes cool,” said Robby, “At this track they never get a rest with the lack of straightaways, so you really have to be conservative, which is difficult to do in qualifying.”  At the conclusion of Qualifying Foley was P2, a good place to start for the race.

Unfortunately, just before the cars were going to roll, in the final laps of the second Indycar there was a massive crash.  Dario Franchitti and Takuma Sato got into each other, sending Dario’s car airborne into the fence.  Some fans did sustain injuries resulting from the flying debris.  Dario was also okay after sustaining a broken ankle and two fractured vertebrae.

Robby was disappointed not to race, but was relieved to hear Dario and all of the fans were okay, “We as drivers accept the fact that we could be injured, but the fans don’t sign up for that.  They come with their families to watch us put on a show, so I take great exception any time I hear of a fan being injured,” said Foley.

Robby looks forward to the Penultimate round of the Playboy MX-5 cup, at one of his favorite tracks, Road Atlanta!

 

 

 

 

Minor Struggles at Coronado End in Good Result for Foley

San Diego, Calif. (Sept. 20-22, 2013)-  The beautiful scenery of Coronado Island set the stage for Round 9 of the Playboy MX-5 Cup, which was a part of the Coronado Speed Festival known as the race at the base during fleet week.  Friday would feature one practice, while Saturday featured practice 2 and qualifying, and the race would be Sunday.  Unlike most race weekends in the Playboy MX-5 Cup Coronado would only have one race, unlike the usual weekends that have 2.

Unfortunately, Friday practice would have no official timing because there was no timing loop in the temporary circuit, and it wasn’t going to be installed until Friday night, after on track activities commenced.  So knowing this Robby was just going to use it as a test session.  Robby did a few laps to get comfortable with the track that was new to him, then brought the car in to be tested for performance to ensure it was up to par with all of the other cars.  Then as Robby got back in the car to go back out someone had impacted the tire barrier chicane causing the session to be black flagged.  Even with minimal time in the car Foley was feeling pretty comfortable.

Foley showed good pace in Practice two posting the second fastest time early, and holding p2 for most of the session until he was jumped to P3 at the end.  Robby was pretty happy with the car and was comfortable going into qualifying.  After being held for the first 10 minutes of qualifying the skip barber cars were released.  Robby put in a few good laps early putting him p2, but he was not perfectly happy with the car.  Because the track was ever changing causing times to drop, and at anytime someone could blow out the chicane causing a black flag, Robby could not come in for changes.  After trying to do a few more fliers, Robby could not improve on his time, while a few others did, partly because the last turn was opened up on the last lap so everyone behind Robby had an opportunity to improve, so Robby was bumped to P4 after maintaining p3 for the last few laps.

The Race would prove even more crazy than qualifying.  Robby started P4 but quickly made his way to third.  After running p3 for a while a caution came out because the chicane had been blown out.  The re-start got a bit hairy after the field stacked up in the last turn.  This was the turning point in the race because this let Kenton Koch get around 3 of the slower Playboy cars while we were still behind them losing two seconds a lap.  As a result of some interesting driving the rest of the Skip Barber cars were never able to get around the slower Playboy cars.  The ensuing laps were filled with beating and banging partly as a result of bad driving and partly because passing is difficult.  “I was just trying to keep myself in the race,” Foley explained, “Because Kenton was getting away by 2 seconds a lap I knew it would be a race for second so I just hung back to avoid the big wreck.”  This proved to be a good strategy with all of the spinning and contact happening in front of Robby.  “I was planning my strategy for the last lap,” said Foley, “I knew I was crushing everyone in the chicane, but I was fighting the car in the sweepy corners, so I was gonna have to make my moves in the second half of the track.”  Robby did just that, and as the white flag flew he was sitting in 5th, but by time he got to the chicane he was P4.  Robby had a great exit out of the carousel getting right up the back bumper of Drake Kemper, and after he and David Knight made slight contact Foley was able to pull alongside Drake passing for 3rd.  Going into the last turn Knight and Foley were side by side when Playboy leader John Dean went off and shot across the track leaving a gap for Robby, while David Knight was baulked down, and as a result Robby ended P2, putting him second in the championship!

Following the Race, later in the evening the awards ceremony was held on the USS Ronald Reagan.  It was a great event, and since Robby finished on the podium he had the opportunity to stand among some of the Navy’s best while receiving his trophy. “It was a pretty awesome experience taking part in the Coronado Speed Fest,” explained Foley.  “Interacting and meeting all different sorts of military personnel was truly humbling,” he exclaimed.  “Being on the USS Ronald Reagan was incredible, and it was truly a privilege to meet the vice admiral, the captain of the USS Ronald Reagan and other senior military officers, something I’ll never forget, a truly life changing experience.”

Robby would like to sincerely thank the Navy for allowing the Coronado Speed Festival to take place, as well as his parents for their support, and Mazda, Skip Barber, and BFG for the great support of the series.  The next MX-5 Cup race will be in Houston Oct. 4-6 as a part of the Houston GP with Indycar and World Challenge.

 

 

Consistently Good Weekend for Robby Foley at CTMP

Bowmanville, Canada (July 18-21, 2013)- Canadian Tire Motorsport Park was to be Robby’s first race outside of the U.S.  After driving with his family up to Canada Robby was excited to get on track.  This was Robby’s first time to CTMP, formerly known as Mosport.  Thursday was a test day with one official practice.  The track proved to be nothing like anything Robby had previously experienced.  All of the elevation and blind corners would be a challenge for Robby, but a challenge that he was looking forward to.  The Mx-5 cup cars average over 90 mph at CTMP which makes driving quick a tricky endeavor.   Testing went well, and Robby got up to speed quickly.

In the first practice Thursday evening Robby planned to work on setup.  With thirty minutes to work with  Robby would do a few laps then make a change, then test it, and the process would continue.  Due to the heat and humidity Robby never really felt like he had the car under him.  Friday morning was another practice where Robby continued to work on the setup.  Robby ended practice two P2, P3 in combined practice.  Next on Friday was qualifying where a drivers best lap sets their starting position for race 1, and their second best lap sets their position for Race 2.  Robby was fighting some under steer in qualifying, so he couldn’t get down to the time he set in practice.  Even so Robby qualified P3 for both races, running two nearly identical lap times.

Race 1 was set to start at 7:15 pm on Saturday, an unusually late start.  Robby made a good start pressuring Kenton Koch into turn 1, but after getting held up he dropped to P3, then there was a Playboy Cup car that spun in turn 8.  Because the driver didn’t go both feet in he rolled backwards, and took out Drake Kemper.  Robby was able to narrowly escape having to go off roading to avoid the car but as a result he dropped back in the field.  Throughout the ensuing laps Robby was working to improve his position when he caught the same car that had spun on lap 1.  Despite that driver being a lap down, and in a different class he was still racing Robby, and David Knight, and it took a few laps to get around this lap car.  So after eventually getting around the Playboy Cup car Robby and David had a good race for P2 where Robby came out on top.

Race 2 was just as hectic as Race 1 but in different ways.  For the first few laps Robby lost the draft, and the three cars of Drake Kemper, Lucas Bize, and Kenton Koch, held a steady gap over Foley, but because they were battling together Foley was able to catch back up after running some impressive fast, and consistent laps.  There was then a 1 lap caution due to a car off in turn 8.  Then on the re-start after a bit of a mess in turn 9 Robby was P2 then he drafted by Drake Kemper to take the lead on the back straight.  After leading for a few laps Robby relinquished thee lead back to Drake Kemper.  There was then a second, very long caution, that left only one lap of green at the end where Foley couldn’t quite get to Kemper, but he was able to hold off Kenton, and Lucas.  The final order was Kemper, Foley, Knight.

Robby would like to thank his Parents, his sister for the pictures, Skip Barber, Mazdaspeed, BFG, and SCCA Pro for making it a great weekend.

 

 

Crazy Weekend at Mid-Ohio for Playboy MX-5 Cup Rounds 5&6

Lexington, OH. (June 13-16, 2013)

– After traveling through tornado warnings, and severe thunderstorms Robby was looking forward to getting on track for testing on Thursday.  The day started of very wet, and Robby found out truly how treacherous Mid-Ohio is in the rain.  The first session went well, as Robby was just working to find grip, which at Mid-O is hard to come by considering the amount of sealer on the track.  The sealer turns into a very slimy slippery surface in the rain, and most of the surrounding areas near apexes are covered with this sealer, creating a very true rain line.  The second session was going well until Robby’s left rear tire went down under braking off of the back straight causing him to spin off into China beach, but Robby was able to limp out of the beach and bring it in for a new tire.  The third session was dry, but the Skip Barber testers had to test the cars, so Foley only had roughly four laps.

Friday was strictly a practice day with two sessions.  Robby used the first session to evaluate the car, and work on some setup changes, not really going for a fast lap.  He was finding the car to have a lot of under-steer so throughout the session Robby worked on making some shock changes to enable the car to rotate. The second practice Robby continued to dial in the setup, and did put down a fast lap of a 1:40.5, which was under the lap record putting him second behind Kenton Koch who was able to click of a lap in the 1:39’s.

Saturday began very early with qualifying, causing the track to be initially slick.  Robby clicked of a few strong times early putting him on pole at first, but perhaps he used up the tires too early as the track came in.  “I think I was too eager to go out and put down a quick one,” Foley says, “then I planned to do a slow lap to cool the tires and attempt one more flyer, but unfortunately I took the checker on that lap.”  Qualifying in the Skip Barber Pro Challenge can be tricky, because the Skippy cars are held for approximately 10 minutes to give the Playboy Cup cars an opportunity to do two fast laps.  After the duration of Qualifying Robby was sitting P3.

Robby was excited for Race 1 starting from P3.  At the start Robby moved up to P2, on the bumper of Kenton Koch, but after slow cup car traffic held him up Foley dropped back to P4 and then in the ensuing lap in the carousel Foley had a run on Lucas Bize, and Drake Kemper as they were held up behind a Playboy Cup car, and as a result Foley exploited a gap on the outside that quickly closed, and Robby ended up driving off through the gravel.  Robby then found himself DFL with a large margin to make up.  After putting his head down for the remaining duration of the race Robby ended up with a podium in P3, a very good effort having to drive his way back through the field.

Race two was a good old fashion crap shoot as it was quite wet.  Robby jumped up to P2 after starting P3, but then got roughed up a bit by some playboy cup cars, and subsequently dropped back.  the next lap in madness Christian Tetzlaff spun entering turn 5 and began to spin to the inside, but he didn’t go both feet in, and lock it down, causing him to shoot back across track leaving Robby nowhere to go.  The car sustained considerable damage to the left front corner causing tire rub and a cut down tire.  Robby came in for a LF tire, and lost a lap.  There was then a full course caution so at least the field was bunched up, but Foley was still a lap down in roughly 7th.  In the remainder of the race Robby moved through the field passing some cars and ended up 5th, not bad for such an action packed race.

Overall Robby was pleased with his driving, and looks forward to the next race at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (Mosport) in Canada, in July.

Photo Credits: Stephanie Foley