Sparks Claims Pole at Barber Motorsports Park
 April 21, 2017| 
  • Series News

Birmingham, Ala. (21 April 2017) - Nathanial “Sparky” Sparks took the first Battery Tender Global MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires pole position of the year at Barber Motorsports Park on Friday as the 2016 series champion posted a quick lap time of 01:41.4396-seconds.

With a 30-car strong entry, the field took to the 2.38-mile natural terrain Alabama road course that features variations in elevation with both tight and wide, sweeping corners. Sparks scored the first starting spot by six tenths over Patrick Gallagher of McCumbee McAleer Racing who will complete the front row. The race promises to be another competitive affair, with just one second separating second to 16th on the grid. 

Sparky, who also scored pole for the second race of the weekend after his second fastest lap also bested the field,  credited the positive qualifying run to his Sick Sideways team’s excellent car preparation for the Barber event.

"We've been working hard in the off season to make sure the cars are in tip top shape,” said Sparky. “As usual we came here and my car was great out of the box. The guys at Sick Sideways really helped steer me in the right direction. I get in the car and it's hard to make adjustments because the car is so finely tuned from the beginning. Putting the right tires on and getting the right track position is what really helped me during the session - I had the track position. I executed when I needed to and I am just thrilled to be here.”

The result was all the more rewarding for Sparky, who on Saturday will host a group of children from Big Oak Ranch (http://www.bigoak.org), a children's home for abused and neglected children. The guests will have the opportunity to  visit the paddock, meet the drivers, and get a behind the scenes experience during the race weekend.

“We have a group of kids from Big Oak Ranch coming out to see us tomorrow,” added Sparky. “I hope they have a great time and it's nice that they have somebody to root for. We're starting from the pole and that'll be something extra exciting for the kids so I look forward to that. This track is very much dependent on driving well, hitting your marks, and doing well in qualifying. It's a technical race - it's going to feel like a million years out there! I just hope that I can run consistently like I did last year. Just hit my marks, run smooth, run up front and just have a good clean race."

Rounding out the top-five in qualifying was Luke Oxner, who is making his first-ever Global Mazda MX-5 Cup start, in third with Mark Drennan and Robby Foley fourth and fifth on the grid.

Full results can be found here: http://mx-5cup.com/results

Race 1 goes green at 10 :00 AM local time (9:00 AM ET) and Race 2 is set for a 5:40 PM local start (6:40 PM ET) with both races streamed LIVE at www.mazdalive.com.

 

 

 

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