The Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires Rookie of the Year from 2021 finds himself on pole to kick off his sophomore season. Sam Paley (No. 28 McCumbee McAleer Racing) qualified at the top of the field to earn the top grid spot at Daytona International Raceway.
Conditions were mixed when the 31-car field rolled out to qualify and teams opted for BFGoodrich rain tires. After 30 minutes of track time, it was Paley’s name on top of the timing screens with a lap of 2m15.785s.
“On rain tires it wasn’t too bad, but it was still pretty slick,” Paley said. “At Daytona it’s all about catching the right draft in the right place and luckily I was able to do that and it catapulted me to the top of the time charts. It was progressively getting drier, but started to rain again on the last lap.”
When asked which conditions he’d prefer for Thursday afternoon’s race, Paley’s reply was quick and confident.
“I hope it rains,” Paley said. “I hope it’s a downpour. That would be fun for me.”
Round 1 of the Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup from Daytona International Raceway goes green at 5:30 p.m. ET. Livestream coverage of the 45-minute race will be available at IMSA.com/TVlive.