Mcaleer Leads 1-2 Sweep For CJ Wilson Racing In Opening Practice At Coronado
Championship points leader Stevan McAleer, of Putnam Valley, N.Y., posted the quickest time in Friday's opening SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup Series practice session at the Coronado Speed Festival ahead of teammate Elliott Skeer.
Driving the No. 28 CJ Wilson Children's Charities/Blue Mercury Capital/RUFocused.com Mazda MX-5, McAleer turned a best lap at 1:14.146 (82.539 mph) around the 1.7-mile airport circuit at the Coronado Naval Air Station. McAleer and Skeer swapped the top spot early on in the 30-minute session, before McAleer monopolized the top spot over the final 20 minutes.
"The times obviously show that we're pretty competitive right out of the box and it's just about squeezing that little more out of it for the next practice session tomorrow, but I think we're looking pretty good for qualifying," McAleer said. "Something that I'm excited about is I feel that you might not be able to draft here as much as we have in the other rounds, so I think someone with a nice, good car, good setup, there's a possibility of breaking the draft.
"The track is difficult. It's almost like remembering the backroads back in Scotland, bumps, potholes and with the amount of cars that were out there, the actual track configuration was changing every lap. They were making it easier through the chicane. We are obviously super excited. We just went out there with a setup that we thought would work and I think Elliott was P2, so we're both looking quite good this weekend. I do have to apologize to my teammate, Emily. I drove into her side door by accident on one of the laps, so I apologize and I'll buy her a beer later."
Skeer claimed second in the session with a best lap at 1:14.476 (82.174 mph) in the No. 17 MAZDASPEED/Sparco/Milgard Windows & Doors Mazda MX-5. The 18-year-old racer hails from just up the road in Vista, Calif. and is off to a good start in preparation for his home race.
"It's great to be racing at home and sleeping in my own bed at night," Skeer said. "I know Stevan and myself were having data problems and we weren't getting any lap times, so it was kind of hard to base everything and see how we were doing. I think we did all right. We made some changes that definitely helped for the second part of the session. The track is just always changing out there. We're just hoping to adapt to it as quickly as possible and hopefully be there at the end of the race.
"This is, by far, the fastest track - mentally, the fastest you have to be all year. This is such an intense track. It's definitely going to be something where you're going to have to slow yourself down multiple times in the race and tell yourself, 'Just calm down and take it as smooth as possible.' It seems to be such an easy track to overdrive and just get in over your head. It's going to be one of those where you just have to keep yourself calm and keep a cool head. Hopefully, by doing that, you'll be there at the end."
Third quickest on Friday was John Dean, of Sebring, Fla. Dean posted a best time of 1:14.490 (82.158 mph) in the No. 16 Projections Research MX-5 for Sick Sideways. Fourth on the speed chart was Dean's teammate, Christian Szymczak, of Palos Verdes, Calif., at 1:14.552 (82.090 mph) in the No. 34 Projections Research/Eprodius machine.
Rounding out the top five on the overall time chart was Kenton Koch, of Glendora, Calif. Koch was quickest among the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Series drivers, clocking a best lap at 1:15.027 (81.570 mph) in the No. 91 KKoch Enterprises Mazda MX-5.
Saturday's schedule will see the MX-5 Cup machines back on course for another 30-minute practice session beginning at 7:30 a.m. PT. Qualifying is scheduled to run from 12:55 to 1:25 p.m. PT.
Results from practice session #1 for Sunday's SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup Round 9 race, part of the MX-5 Cup at Coronado NAS at Coronado Naval Air Station, with position, class, car number in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, fastest lap time, and speed in miles per hour.
1. MX (28) Stevan McAleer, Putnam Valley, N.Y., MX-5, 1:14.146, 82.539.
2. MX (17) Elliott Skeer, Vista, Calif., MX-5, 1:14.476, 82.174.
3. MX (16) John Dean II, Sebring, Fla., MX-5, 1:14.490, 82.158.
4. MX (34) Christian Szymczak, Palos Verdes, Calif., MX-5, 1:14.552, 82.090.
5. SBMX (91) Kenton Koch, Glendora, Calif., MX-5, 1:15.027, 81.570.
6. MX (3) Nathaniel Sparks, Spanish Fort, Ala., MX-5, 1:15.186, 81.398.
7. MX (11) Ara Malkhassian, Houston, Texas, MX-5, 1:15.196, 80.636.
8. SMBX (63) Bryan Hixon, San Antonio, Texas, MX-5, 1:16.832, 79.654.
9. MX (7) Tim Probert, Houston, Texas, MX-5, 1:16.853, 79.632.
10. SBMX (62) Cal Meeker, Oceanside, Calif., MX-5, 1:17.035, 79.444.
11. SBMX (97) David Knight, Ludlow, Vt., MX-5, 1:17.168, 79.307.
12. SBMX (67) Fred Chin, Henderson, Nev., MX-5, 1:17.618, 78.847.
13. MX (29) Connor De Phillippi, San Clemente, Calif., MX-5, 1:17.744, 78.720.
14. MX (44) Steve Bottom, Newport Beach, Calif., MX-5, 1:18.198, 78.262.
15. MX (10) Brent Mosing, Lafayette, La., MX-5, 1:18.818, 77.647.
16. MX (27) Charles Paquin, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, MX-5, 1:18.859, 77.606.
17. MX (39) Kristine Craine, Portland, Ore., MX-5, 1:20.051, 76.451.
18. MX (19) Emilee Tominovich, Clarksville, Md., MX-5, 1:20.975, 75.578.