Mcaleer Takes Fourth Pole Position Of Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup Season At Coronado
After leading both SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup practice sessions at the Coronado Speed Festival, Stevan McAleer, of Putnam Valley, N.Y., was the clear favorite to take the pole position.
And McAleer did end up taking the pole for Sunday's inaugural MX-5 Cup race at the Coronado Naval Air Station, but it didn't come easy to the Scottish racer. McAleer didn't crack the top-three positions until the final minutes of the session and claimed the pole on his final lap with a time of 1:13.867 (82.851 mph) in the No. 28 CJ Wilson Children's Charities/Blue Mercury Capital/RUFocused.com Mazda MX-5. It was the points leader's fourth pole position of the 2012 MX-5 Cup season.
"I was running some pretty good laps at the start, but I could see John [Dean] was closing on me," said McAleer. "I wanted to take the pressure off and let him by and then play around. I was trying as hard as I could. I ran a 14.2 early, but there was a couple of mistakes in the lap and then it got to the point where maybe the tires started to gain a little heat and we started to level off at a 14.5. Jason Saini told me to come in and do a stop, let the tires cool down and do a double-check on stuff, and then I went out and just kept on it.
"I ran a 13.97 on my second to last lap and they came on and said there was two minutes to go. I heard my teammate, Elliott [Skeer], had jumped off to first which was excellent. We were looking to steal the pole position. On the last lap I was on, I thought, 'This is actually a pretty good lap. We're going to at least make this count,' and then one of my teammates came on and said, 'You just ran pole position.' I'm super excited, didn't really expect it. Obviously, we've been quick all practice and in qualifying and now we're looking forward to a front row start for CJ Wilson Racing."
Skeer, who hails from nearby Vista, Calif., wound up second in the No. 17 MAZDASPEED/Sparco/Milgard Windows & Doors MX.5. Skeer's quick lap of 1:13.876 (82.841 mph) was also a late one, coming within five minutes of the checkered flag.
"It was pretty interesting," Skeer said. "We were sitting in the pits just waiting, thinking I had pole and then they got on the radio and said, 'Oh, Stevan got you by nine one thousandths at the checkered.' It's like, 'Yeah, that's awesome, 1-2.' But at the same time, it's like, 'No, I wanted the home pole,' but the main goal is for the team. We want to get the team up there, so a 1-2 is the best result for us."
Whereas the front-row qualifies found their speed late in the session, John Dean, of Sebring, Fla., posted his best time of 1:13.952 (82.756 mph) early on in the session. The Sick Sideways driver spent the majority of the session on the provisional pole, but will start the No. 16 Projections Research MX-5 from third on the grid.
"This track is very trying. It's difficult; it's bumpy," Dean said. "We made some setting changes and the car improved."
Christian Szymczak, of Palos Verdes, Calif., made it two Sick Sideways cars on the second row after a lap at 1:14.028 (82.671 mph) in the No. 34 Projections Research/Eprodius machine. Ara Malkhassian, of Houston, Texas, rounded out the top five. Malkhassian posted a best time of 1:14.312 (82.355 mph) in the No. 11 ALARA Garage MX-5.
Kenton Koch, of Glendora, Calif., was the fastest Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Series qualifier. Koch logged a best time of 1:14.843 (81.771 mph) in the No. 91 KKoch Enterprises Mazda MX-5.
Sunday's Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup race at the Coronado Speed Festival - which is Round 9 of the 11-race season - goes off from a standing start at 11:00 a.m. PT. To follow each session's notes and timing, please visit www.mx-5cup.com.
Starting lineup for Sunday's SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup Round 9 race, part of the Coronado Speed Festival 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(R), Putnam Valley, N.Y., MX-5, 1:13.867, 82.851.
2. MX, (17), Elliott Skeer(R), Vista, Calif., MX-5, 1:13.876, 82.841.
3. MX, (16), John Dean II(R), Sebring, Fla., MX-5, 1:13.952, 82.756.
4. MX, (34), Christian Szymczak(R), Palos Verdes, Calif., MX-5, 1:14.028, 82.671.
5. MX, (11), Ara Malkhassian, Houston, Texas, MX-5, 1:14.312, 82.355.
6. MX, (3), Nathanial Sparks, Spanish Fort, Ala., MX-5, 1:14.342, 82.322.
7. MX, (29), Connor De Phillippi(R), San Clemente, Calif., MX-5, 1:15.628, 80.922.
8. MX, (26), Tim Probert, Houston, Texas, MX-5, 1:15.676, 80.871.
9. MX, (10), Brent Mosing(R), Lafayette, La., MX-5, 1:16.448, 80.054.
10. MX, (44), Steve Bottom, Newport Beach, Calif., MX-5, 1:17.489, 78.979.
11. MX, (39), Kristine Craine, Portland, Ore., MX-5, 1:18.869, 77.597.
12. MX, (19), Emilee Tominovich(R), Clarksville, Md., MX-5, 1:19.097, 77.373.
13. MX, (27), Charles Paquin, Ottawa, Ontario, MX-5, 1:20.713, 75.824.
14. SBMX, (91), Kenton Koch, Glendora, Calif., Barber MX-5, 1:14.843, 81.771.
15. SBMX, (63), Bryan Hixon, San Antonio, Texas, Barber MX-5, 1:15.823, 80.714.
16. SBMX, (97), David Knight, Ludlow, Vt., Barber MX-5, 1:15.867, 80.667.
17. SBMX, (62), Cal Meeker, Oceanside, Calif., Barber MX-5, 1:16.162, 80.355.
18. SBMX, (67), Fred Chin, Henderson, Nev., MX-5, 1:16.652, 79.841.