Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Rookie Points Championship Tightens Up
 August 1, 2017| 
  • Series News

Indianapolis, IN (1 Aug 2017) – As the Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires crests into the second half of the season, the Rookie  of the Year points championship has grown even tighter with a deep talent pool of first year racers.

On the line is much more than bragging rights—in fact there are 50,000 reasons. The top finishing rookie will earn a $50,000 Mazda Road to 24 Scholarship. 

The parity among the Global MX-5 cup field brings drivers within tenths of a second of each other, making it anyone’s race. And that close competition is true in the rookie ranks as well.

Just three points now separate leader Bryan Ortiz (133 pts.) and Robert Stout (130 pts.), with Toronto Race 2 runner-up Matt Cresci giving chase from third (112 pts).

Global Mazda MX-5 Rookie and Mazda Road to 24 Shootout winner, Matt Cresci (No. 52 Slipstream Performance) made an early statement as he emerged from the first race at Barber Motorsports Park placed third in the Rookie standings just ahead of Luke Oxner (No. 77 White Racing) in fourth. But the next race saw Ortiz (No. 4 Copeland Motorsports) and Stout (No. 38 McCumbee McAleer Racing) establish themselves as front runners, with Ortiz leading Stout after the Barber weekend. 

The next four rounds saw a leader change as Stout took the rookie points lead at Indianapolis Motor Speedway after scoring his first season win, along with a second-place finish. The lead was short-lived as Ortiz reclaimed the top spot after Road America as he produced a pair of consistent results (2nd & 4th), putting him back ahead of Stout by a close yet comfortable nine-point advantage.  

Rounds 7 & 8 brought the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup field through the streets of Toronto, the series’ first and only temporary street course. Day 1 of racing saw Stout surge to the top of the podium for his second win of the season which positioned him just two Rookie Championship points away from points leader Bryan Ortiz who scored third.

After the duo had contact in turn one, as the field attempted a three-wide stance at the exit in Race 2, Cresci took his first podium finish (2nd) as the battle tightened up to a mere three points between Ortiz in first and Stout in second. Fellow Rookie driver, Luke Oxner also had his best finish of the year by placing fifth in Race 2, which put him fourth in the Rookie standings.

“I still believe that I am quite far off on the lead for the rookie battle,” said Cresci, who won the Mazda Shootout to score $100,000 in racing scholarship funding. “The other two contenders already have a lot of pro racing experience, so they had a leg up from the start. That being said, I learn fast, so I should be on even footing for the rest of the season, and will do everything I can to give these guys a run for their money. Mazda Raceway is the only track on the MX-5 cup calendar that I have experience at and it is one of my home tracks, so I feel extremely confident about that event and look forward to the local support that will push me to succeed.”

Four races and two event weekends remain and the points battle for the Rookie Championship and the $50,000 grand prize stand closer than ever with only 21 points separating the top three. 

“I think that this rookie battle is shaping up to be very intense for the last four races,” said Ortiz. “Robert Stout and Matt Cresci are two great drivers and have showed that the three of us are contenders for podiums and wins every single weekend. So it is hard to get a distance from each other in the points! Copeland Motorsports have given me a great car every single weekend that makes it easier for me and I know that Watkins Glen and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca won’t be any different!” 

The up and down weekend at Toronto was one that left Stout feeling the full range of emotions, but with the top goal still in sight. 

“The Toronto weekend was quite the rollercoaster ride, as the entire season has been,” said Stout. “The win on Saturday in Round 7 was big for me. At Road America we proved to be fast but the end result wasn't what we wanted. So rebounding with a victory and two spots in front of Ortiz was a good way to open. I was really disappointed with the way Race 2 at Toronto started, but heading into the last four rounds and last two circuits I feel extremely confident. There is not a doubt in my mind that we can take home Rookie of the year, and I know it's a long shot, but if Patrick's not careful I'm coming for him too! It's already been a really fun and exciting year. I can't wait to see how it ends!"

Rounds 9 & 10 of the Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup series presented by BFGoodrich Tires will continue at Watkins Glen September 1-3.

Top- 5 Rookie Points Standings

Bryan Ortiz/Copeland Motorsports                  133
Robert Stout/ McCumbee McAleer Racing               130
Matt Cresci/Slipstream Performance                  112
Luke Oxner/McCumbee McAleer Racing                 70
Patrick Wilmot/GB Racing Analytics/               44


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