Elkhart Lake, WI (August 7-10, 2014)
Robby was excited to turn his first laps at Road America, which would be the venue for rounds 9&10 of the season. Robby had been to the track before for the SCCA National Championship Run-offs as a spectator, but he has never competed at the track located north of Milwaukee. The schedule was spread out four days, Thursday through Sunday. Thursday was the test day and Robby was excited to get the weekend going. The first session Robby was purely doing recon to familiarize himself with the track and to bed in brakes. The second session his car was tested by one of the testers, and once that was completed he finished out the session turning competitive times.
In the first practice Robby was fast leading most of the session but would eventually end up P3 under the existing track record. In Practice 2 Robby did limited laps as he was confident in the car and his time in practice 1. Combined practice results saw him sitting P3 going into Qualifying. Qualifying was shaping up to be very intense as Road America, considering it’s long straightaways favors the draft, but per MX-5 Cup rules drivers are not allowed to draft during qualifying. Robby went out with the mindset to run quick laps early to use the tires at their peak performance. Robby executed well and was on the pole early and for most of the session until he was bumped to p2 when Drake Kemper set a lap just a tenth of a second quicker than Foley, so Robby would have to settle for p2 in qualifying.
Race 1 was a tough one for Robby. He started outside pole and quickly moved to the lead on the start and battled up front for the first few laps until he made a move on a MX-5 Cup car that caused him to get freight trained back to p4. Because of how the draft works at this track Robby had a difficult time maintaining pace with the leaders, but after running some consistent fast laps while the leaders were battling Robby was able to get back to the pack, and made a pass for third where he’d eventually finish. “It was a tough race for sure,” said Foley. “I lost the draft early and really had to put my head down to get back to the pack if there were a few more laps I think I could’ve be in contention for a win.”
Race 2 was just as eventful for different reasons for Robby. He lead the majority of the race, but he noticed a brake problem that as the race progressed was getting much worse. As the laps counted off an apparent noise from the front of the car got worse and worse as the brake pedal got longer and longer. A late caution helped Foley to save his failing brakes, but on the restart it was apparent that it would be difficult to finish. On the last lap Robby had a punctured tire and was able to limp it around to p5. The overarching problem was that the top bolts on both brake calipers were not tightened following a brake change the night before causing the bolts to back out making the calipers free floating inside the wheel. The calipers were laid up against the wheel cutting groves in the wheel which eventually cut enough metal away to shed the valve stem. Robby was extremely upset with this considering the fact that if this had happened in the kink the car would have been for sure totaled. As a result this essentially puts Foley out of the hunt for the championship although it is technically mathematically still possible. “It is extremely frustrating to have something out of your control negatively affect your season, but that’s been the theme of the year starting in Sebring Race 1. I guess I’m lucky considering where everything decided to let go cause there are some seriously hard things to hit here,” stated Foley.
Overall Robby was pleased with his driving being his first time to Road America, just frustrated to be robbed of a good finish, but looks forward to giving it his best to fight for the championship at Road Atlanta.