The Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires is finally back in action this week, having endured a a number of COVID-related schedule changes. On Thursday and Friday, the series will return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course for the first time since 2017.
After July’s season opener at Road America, the Mazda MX-5 Cup series was due to compete at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course accompanying the he NTT IndyCar Series. With that event postponed, though, the series took advantage of the opportunity to return to the Brickyard for the second event of the 2020 season.
A long break between events has all the drivers eager to get back to race action this week, but especially Robert Noaker (No. 13 Copeland Motorsports) whose dominating performance in the season opener gave him an immediate points lead. The 16-year-old, however, has no prior experience at IMS.
“I’ve never had the opportunity to race at Indianapolis, and we definitely have our work cut out for us as it’s only a two-day event,” Noaker admitted. “I feel like our car will be strong here with all of our pre-season testing, and some of the tracks were very similar to Indianapolis.
“I haven’t been doing anything on the sim because the sim, sadly, has a different version; but I have been watching some in-car and it looks like a really fun track. It will really be cool to be able to race at a track with so much history.”
Noaker’s nearest championship rival, Selin Rollan, does have experience on the IMS road course, having finished second in Spec Miata at the 2017 SCCA National Championship Runoffs. Rollan (No. 87 Spark Performance) is 20 points behind Noaker after a pair of runner-up finishes at Road America.
Only three points behind Rollan is the latest Mazda Road to 24 Scholarship winner, Jared Thomas (No. 96 Carter Racing Enterprises). Despite being an Indianapolis resident for four years while attending Indiana University/Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), Thomas has never raced at IMS. He graduated this past May with a Bachelor’s Degree in Motorsports Engineering.
Another driver to keep an eye on is Robert Stout (No. 3 White Racing), who scored his first MX-5 Cup win at IMS in his rookie season and is currently sixth in the point standings.
Teams will practice and qualify on the 2.439-mile course Thursday. Both races will take place on Friday. The race weekend will unfortunately not be open to spectators.
Live timing and radio will be available at www.mx-5cup.com which will also provide results and race recaps. Follow the series on Twitter @globalmx5cup for the latest trackside updates.