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.