Salinas, Ca. (April 28-30, 2016)
There’s no better place to kick off a new era of the Battery Tender Global MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires than the spiritual home of Mazda, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The picturesque track located on the Monterey peninsula would host the first 2 rounds of a 12 race championship.
This year brings a lot of change to the series with the debut of the all new 2016 Global MX-5 Cup car, based on the fourth generation MX-5 Miata making it an exciting time for Robby to join the series.
In 2016 Robby will be driving for Atlanta Motorsports Group on the strength of his $100,000 Mazda Road to 24 (#MRT24) scholarship. The Battery Tender MX-5 Cup is the signature series for the Mazda Road to 24 (#MRT24), the sports car counterpart to the Mazda Road to Indy (#MRTI). The MX-5 Cup champion earns a $200,000 scholarship to further their racing career.
The weekend kicked off Thursday with official practice as there was no promoter test day. It was apparent right away that Robby and the team were meshing well, finishing P3 overall going into Qualifying.
“I was happy with the car overall,” explained Foley, “There’s more speed in it and it was tough to get a clear lap, but overall we are happy with our pace considering our limited testing time.”
Next up was qualifying bright and early Friday morning. This year the qualifying rules changed slightly to allow drafting, something that was previously not allowed. Robby put in a solid solo lap early in the session, but was unable to get a draft leaving him P6 on the grid. He did backup his first lap with a near identical lap putting him P4 for race 2.
“Qualifying didn’t go exactly to plan, but 6th and 4th is nothing to be ashamed of with considering how tight the field is,” remarks Robby, “I’m looking forward to seeing how we stack up in the races.”
Race 1 went okay for Robby. After getting a good start Robby made his way into the top 3 where he stayed for most of the race. Eventually after battling in the last 10 min he ended up 4th on track, but following post race tech inspection he was moved to P3.
In Race 2 Robby again got a good start making his way up to P3. In the ensuing laps he and a few cars began to battle letting the leaders pull a gap, but once Robby could lose the cars behind he began to inch closer back to the front. A mid race caution stacked the field up and on the restart Robby was able to pass for P2. A few laps later a bobble from the leader gave Robby the lead, but he soon would move back to P2. The top 3 battled for the majority of the remainder of the race. Robby was able to make a move on the outside of turn 2 for the lead that stuck for the remainder of the race giving him the win!
“Toward the beginning of the race, I was having some trouble with the brakes and that’s why I fell to third,” recalled race 2 winner Foley; he continued: “The guys behind me were racing really hard, but I was in that bubble where I couldn’t quite catch John and Patrick. I was matching their times, but couldn’t catch them. The caution actually helped me out and I was able to get back to the leaders. I took a chance in turn 2 near the end of the race and made it stick.”
“Really happy to get the win for AMG here at Mazda Raceway. Everyone has put in a lot of hard work in a short amount of time to make this happen and to repay them for their efforts is satisfying. Also a huge thanks goes out to Mazda, without their help through the #MRT24 scholarship I wouldn’t have the opportunity to be here.”
Robby would again like to thank Mazda, Battery Tender, BFGoodrich Tires, his parents and all of his supporters for all their help along the way.
Rounds 3 and 4 of the Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires will be at Watkins Glen on Saturday, May 14 and Sunday, May 15, 2016.