Rookie McAleer Earns Round One Playboy MX-5 Cup Pole From Sebring
Mar. 15, 2012 - SEBRING, Fla. - CJ Wilson Racing driver Stevan McAleer, of Putnam Valley, N.Y., earned the first spot on the grid for the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy MX-5 Cup standing start for the season opener on Thursday afternoon the morning qualifying at Sebring International Raceway. The MX-5 Cup is running as part of the 60th Anniversary Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring weekend.
|Stevan McAleer, race 1 polesitter (Weber photo)
McAleer, driving the No. 28 Children’s Charities/Blue Mercury Capital/RUfocused.com/Sambo Website Design Mazda MX-5, turned a lap of 2:30.796 (89.286 mph) on his third lap, then pulled off to see if anyone could better that time during the 30-minute session.
No one could, and McAleer earned the pole and the lead spot for the standing start in his first career MX-5 Cup start by 0.814-second – though it wasn’t without some issues.
“The car felt really good,” McAleer said. “I was actually surprised that the gap they gave us wasn’t as much as I expected, so as soon as I came out of the pits one of the white ProMoMo cars was in front of me and I just got on it to see if I could catch up with them.”
It was on that opening flying lap that McAleer lost first and second gears in his MX-5.
“I was going to get on the radio and talk to the team,” McAleer said. “But I thought, you know what, we don’t need first and second, maybe we can run third, fourth and fifth. The next lap I managed to hook up a good lap and brought it in.
“I’m looking forward to the race. I’ve never done any time of standing start in my life, so it’s going to be pretty exciting.”
McAleer will have a teammate alongside him for that standing start. Elliott Skeer, in the No. 17 MAZDASPEED/Sparco/Pelican Windows & Remodeling MX-5, sits on the outside of row one after a qualifying lap of 2:31.697 (88.756 mph).
Lyonel Kent, in the No. 12 ALARA Racing MX-5, is the first veteran on the grid amongst four first-time MX-5 Cup starters in the first two rows. Kent, a three-time race winner, turned a fast lap of 2:32.377 (87.414 mph) to earn the third qualifying spot.
Nathan Sparks crashed his No. 3 OOTSK Performance MX-5 during Tuesday’s test day, but the team was able to repair the car enough to get back on track after hours of repair. The quick work was also obviously done well, as a qualifying lap of 2:32.532 (87.326 mph) left him in the second row for the afternoon start.
A third CJ Wilson Racing machine, the No. 29 ModSpace MX-5 driven by Chad McCumbee, is fifth on the grid after a qualifying lap of 2:32.599 (87.287 mph).
ProMoMo Racing teammates Christian Szymczak and John Dean, in the No. 19 Projections Research/Sick Sideways MX-5 and the No. 20 Projections Research/Sick Sideways MX-5, respectively, turned the second and fourth fastest qualifying times during the 30 minute session. Those times were disallowed for a technical infraction, but the team will correct the problem and the cars will start the race from the rear of the MX-5 Cup field.
In the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Series class, Dennis Trebing , of Cape Coral, Fla., took the pole in the No. 66 Trebing Tile/Uwe Alden Automotive MX-5, followed by Zachry Lee and David Knight.
The Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup, along with the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Series, opens the season with a 30-minute race on Thursday afternoon at 5:10 p.m. EDT for Thursday afternoon’s season opening race. The series also qualifies and races Round Two on Friday.
More information is available at www.mx-5cup.com.
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