September 13, 2017| 
  • Team News

WATKINS GLEN, NY) Robert Stout piloted his No. 28 Lucas Oil / Lucas Oil Racing TV / SC Fuels / Impact Race Products Mazda MX-5 car to two Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup podium finishes in Rounds 9 and 10 at Watkins Glen International Raceway, September 1-2. Stout took his McCumbee McAleer Racing prepared machine to a 2nd in Round 9 and a 3rd in Round 10.
Entering the weekend with just four rounds left to go and only three points behind fellow rookie Bryan Ortiz in the $50,000 battle for Rookie of the Year award, Stout knew he had to come away with two very good results to score maximum points.
“This is a big weekend,” said Stout heading into the first practice session on Friday. “We need to turn this around right here before we go to Mazda Raceway in Laguna for the last two rounds. I’ve won here before with the World Challenge series but this track is fast and the draft will play a huge roll in the race.”
Stout never found a partner in qualifying to draft with and started the Round 9 race on the inside of row 4 in 7th. The green flag flew and the 24-car field fanned out as they headed to turn one.

As Stout had anticipated, the draft up through the esses and down the long straightaway was a key part of the race giving the drivers an 8 to 10 MPH advantage and the ability to move anywhere from 6th up to 1st. The entire race was a high-speed game of cat and mouse as the lead group of 12 cars jockeyed for position the entire 45-minutes of the race. With more than 300 passes made throughout the field leading up to the white flag, Stout led the pack when they came to line with one lap to go. With 3.4 miles left and the lead pack bunched up, the race was far from over, Stout knew the train was lining up for the final run through the esses and up the straight.
“I really didn’t want to be leading at the white flag,” said Stout after the race, “but (Todd) Lamb (driver of the No. 84 Atlanta Speedwerks machine) checked up in the back coming to the white flag and I really had no choice (but to pass him),” said Stout. “I was racing in the mirror as best I could, but there was no holding them off. I managed to hang on to 2nd somehow behind my teammate Patrick Gallagher (No. 29 McCumbee McAleer Racing machine) but I could’ve easily ended up 8th. The draft is a complete crap shoot but Patrick and I managed to stay in the top 5 the entire race. It’s great to give the MMR guys another one-two finish and my personal goal of beating Ortiz if only by one spot was also accomplished so it’s a good day!”
Gallagher’s win gave the MMR team their 8th win in 9 rounds and their 3rd one-two finish of the year!

Going into Round 10, the Rookie-of-the-Year points standings between Stout and Ortiz were tied but Stout took back possession of the Green ROY points leader banner based on his two wins in 2017.
Stout started 4th behind Ortiz but made quick work of him with an outstanding pass around the outside through turn one. At the half way point Stout moved into the lead as Mother Nature made her presence felt with rain beginning to fall.
“It was pretty sketchy to say the least,” said Stout after the race. “Man, I guess I was the test dummy leading everyone around with the conditions changing turn by turn. I had a couple of big moments for sure. Both Steven and Chad (McAleer and McCumbee) raced here earlier in the year and it did the same thing to them so they were immediately able to help me with the best lines to drive.”
As the pack started the last lap, Stout, learning from the previous race, positioned himself in 3rd ahead of teammate Patrick Gallagher and 2015 champ (Nathanial) Sparks (No. 8 Sick Sideways Racing entry) who are in a battle of their own for the Driver’s Championship. Lamb and Tyler Kicera (No. 70 Flatout Motorsports machine) led the pack.
“I was right where I wanted to be,” said Stout. “I had perfect spacing for a big run at the first two guys and perfect spacing ahead of Patrick so he’d catch me just as we hit the straight and was ready for a push right to the front, but it just never happened. I guess Pat and Sparky were duking it out so by the time they caught me it was just a bit too late. I got a push hard enough to catch them, but not pass them. I did manage to get up beside Kicera and we battled side by side through the entire boot knocking both of our mirrors in. It was a great race but he managed to hang on to 2."

The effort gave Stout back-to-back podiums as he finished in 3rd and he was able to beat Ortiz for the second race in a row netting a seven-point lead heading into the final two rounds of the season at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
“I gotta thank all my sponsors for keeping me out here – Lucas Oil / SC Fuels / Impact Racing and Mazda! The MMR guys gave me a great car and kept up with the crazy track changes from the Indy cars laying down crazy rubber out here! I also must congratulate my teammate Patrick Gallagher for locking up the $200,000 Championship here today! He’s had an incredible season with six wins and nine podiums. We worked together great out here today and that’s what it’s all about. Hopefully we can secure the ROY battle and bring it all home for the MMR team”!
The final two rounds of the Global MX-5 Cup season will take place at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, September 22-24th where the $50,000 ROY battle will be settled.

2017 Battery Tender Global  MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires schedule:

Rounds 1 & 2          Barber Motorsports Park               (IndyCar)            April 21-23
Rounds 3 & 4          Indianapolis Motor Speedway       (SVRA)               June 16-18
Rounds 5 & 6          Road America                                (IndyCar)           June 22-24
Rounds 7 & 8          Streets of Toronto                          (IndyCar)           July 14-16
Rounds 9 & 10        Watkins Glen International             (IndyCar)           September 1-3
Rounds 11 & 12       Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca      (IMSA)               September 22-24
Global Invitational    Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca      (IMSA)               October 13-15

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