The RicmoTech iRacing Global Mazda MX-5 Cup staged a thrilling race at Road America on Tuesday night, continuing to mirror the real-life action that the Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich series is known for.
The infamous Road America draft played into the results, but couldn’t stop Selin Rollan from claiming his first MX-5 Cup eSeries win. The iRacing triumph added another accolade for Rollan, who has tasted Global Mazda MX-5 Cup victory five times in his young career.
Starting seventh, it took several laps for Rollan (No. 87 eSelin Motorsports) to work his way up to the front. He was part of a 10-car train that traded positions at each corner. Less than halfway through the race, Rollan managed to get to the front of that train. It didn’t last long, but it fortuitously put him in the right spot at the right time.
In Turn Five, then-leader Patrick Gallagher (No. 29 McCumbee McAleer Racing) was tapped by second place Tyler Maxson (No. 74 Copeland Motorsports) and turned sideways. Gallagher’s car blocked Maxson and third-place Brian Lockwood (No. 43 Sick Sideways Racing) and left the door open for the rest of the field, Rollan included, to stream past.
Other beneficiaries of the incident were Steven McAleer in the No. 28 McCumbee McAleer Racing machine, Harry Voigt in the No. 21 Slipstream Performance car and Michael Carter, driving the No. 08 Carter Motorsports machine. They, along with Rollan, became the lead group.
When the white flag came out Rollan was in the precarious lead spot, which traditionally is not where a driver wants to be at Road America because of the heavy amount of drafting each lap.
McAleer was glued to Rollan’s bumper, until Carter began challenging him for second-place. This gave Rollan the slightest amount of breathing room exiting Turn 12. When Carter had the runner-up spot secured, he desperately drafted up behind Rollan to the finish line, but came up 0.52-second short of victory.
Rollan picked up a total of six positions en route to his first win of the MX-5 Cup eSeries.
“It was a tough race,” Rollan said. “I was waiting for Michael (Carter) to make a move and I knew I’d be a sitting duck on the front straightaway, but it seemed like Steven (McAleer) got a little impatient in the last turn and that sealed the deal for me. Honestly, signing up for this series, I didn’t see us getting a win. I was hoping for top 10’s. Last week’s podium at COTA surprised me and now this win… it’s amazing.”
Like Rollan, Carter had a spectacular charge through the field from 10th on the grid to second at the checkered flag. It is his first podium of the series.
“That was a wild finish,” Carter said. “Road America in these cars is like Talladega or Daytona; you ride around, wait for the last 10 minutes and then go. It was really just survival mode until we had that four-car breakaway at the end.
“We go to Mid-Ohio next,” added Carter. “I don’t think you’ll see this type of pack racing there. You might see a few more breakaways.”
Voigt, in third place, was also a first-time podium finisher courtesy of a drive through the Turn 14 gravel trap.
“When I went into the last corner, I was not expecting that outcome,” Voigt said. “That’s racing, things happen. We all got a little excited, someone made a mistake and I seemed to thread the needle. Same with earlier in the race, in Turn Five, I threaded the needle through all those stopped cars.”
Point leader Matt Cresci (No. 59 Slipstream Performance) finished fourth and enhanced his lead to 12 points over Rollan provisionally.
Gresham Wagner (No. 5 Spark Performance) completed the top five ahead of McAleer.
It was a difficult race for last week’s winner, Lockwood. Though he started from the pole, the Turn Five accident coupled with a drive-through penalty for a different incident dropped him to 14th at the checkered flag.
Next Tuesday, May 26, the RicmoTech iRacing Global Mazda MX-5 Cup will race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Live streaming will once again be available via the Mazda Motorsports Facebook page and the ApexRacingTV YouTube channel beginning at 8pm ET.