John Dean to start MX-5 Cup race one on pole at NOLA

McCumbee, Gallagher second and third in SCCA Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup qualifying.

John Dean to start MX-5 Cup race one on pole at NOLA
#5 CJ Wilson Racing Mazda MX-5: Stevan McAleer, Chad McCumbee

John Dean, of Sebring, Florida, will start Saturday's Round Three race of the SCCA Pro Racing Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires from the top spot. Completing the top three positions were Chad McCumbee, of Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina, and Patrick Gallagher, of Thornville, Ohio.

Dean, driving the No. 16 Bulb Jacket/Sick Sideways MX-5, was able to put in an early, fast lap in the 30-minute session. The weather conditions were threatening rain throughout the entire session, but held off until the end as the skies opened as the drivers headed back to the trailer. Dean registered a fast lap of 1:56.525 (82.489 mph) around the 13-lap, 2.67-mile circuit.

"I was super-focused getting into the car," Dean said. "While on the grid, I just thought about what I wanted to do, and picture it in my head. Fortunately, the rain held off from coming down really hard until the session was done, and I don't think it effected my times too much.

"Throughout the middle portion of the session, it seemed like some drivers began to slow down a little to follow a particular driver around. So, I think that brought the times down, in general, as the session ticked on. However, we were able to get our lap in before that."

As a substitute driver in the No. 29 ModSpace MX-5, McCumbee (in file photo from a different race) adjusted quickly to the Mazda MX-5 that is different from the same model car he drives in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Series. McCumbee's best lap was registered as a 1:56.712 (82.357 mph).

"The MMR guys have been working so hard on these cars," McCumbee said. "We didn't know I was going to be racing until the last minute, and these things are a little different than the Sport Tuner cars I am used to driving. We felt like we could be fast out of the box and the weekend would go well. That's what happened yesterday during the test session.

"We had a good setup on Thursday, for the test sessions and practice, and then made some changes before today's practice. Those changes took us in the wrong direction, so we went back to where we were and it felt really great. Fortunately the first lap out was the money lap."

Gallagher third

Gallagher drove to third place with a time of 1:56.789 (82.302 mph) in his No. 44 Howard Concrete Pumping MX-5.

"We're happy with third place, but it's not where we want to be," Gallagher said. "With the qualifying rules, it's hard to put in the best times possible. You have to figure out timing and things like timing when it comes to the rest of the traffic.

"All-in-all we have a good car for tomorrow. It's race-able, so that's the most important thing."

In the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge, Nikko Reger, of Houston, captured the top starting spot, in class. His lap of 2:01.175 (79.323 mph) allowed him to start in that position.

Set to start second is Ben Albano, of Greenwich, Connecticut, after setting a best lap of 2:01.321 (79.228 mph), at the controls of his No. 61 Project Yellow Light/Manfredi Jewels SBMX-5. Bryan Hixon, of San Antonio, Texas, completed the top three starters with a best time of 2:01.486 (79.120 mph) in the No. 63 Devils Lodge SBMX-5.

The SCCA Pro Racing Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires is set to start race one, at 11:30 a.m. (CDT) on Saturday, with race two slated for a green flag, at 5:15 p.m. (CDT), on April 12.

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Starting line-up for Saturday's Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BF Goodrich Round 3 race, part of the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana at Avondale LA with position, class, car number in parenthesis, driver, hometown, car, fastest lap time, and speed in miles per hour.

1, MX, {16} John Dean II, Sebring, FL, MX-5, 1:56.525, 82.489
2, MX, {29} Chad McCumbee, Ocean Isle Beach, NC, MX-5, 1:56.712, 82.357
3, MX, {44} Patrick Gallagher, Thornville, OH, MX-5, 1:56.789, 82.302
4, MX, {7} Dean Copeland, Bowie, MD, MX-5, 1:56.917, 82.212
5, MX, {99} Drake Kemper, Toluca Lake, CA, MX-5, 1:56.919, 82.211
6, MX, {24} Peter Portante, Plainville, CT, MX-5, 1:57.009, 82.148
7, MX, {8} Nathanial Sparks, Spanish Fort, AL, MX-5, 1:57.012, 82.145
8, MX, {35} Devin Jones, Mooresville, NC, MX-, 1:57.040, 82.126
9, MX, {14} Sarah Montgomery, Lafayette, LA, MX-5, 1:57.534, 81.781
10, MX, {6} Timothy Paul, Mahopac, NY, MX-5, 1:57.627, 81.716
11, MX, {4} Kyle Loustaunau(R), Vacaville, CA, MX-5, 1:57.717, 81.653
12, MX, {12} Zach Lee, San Antonio, TX, MX-5, 1:57.734, 81.642
13, MX, {77} Hernan Palermo(R), Houston, TX, MX-5, 1:57.878, 81.542
14, MX, {34} Matt Koskinen(R), Harper Woods, MI, MX-5, 1:57.946, 81.495
15, MX, {11} Ara Malkhassian, Houston, TX, MX-5, 1:58.002, 81.456
16, MX, {10} Brent Mosing, Lafayette, LA, MX-5, 1:58.140, 81.361
17, MX, {26} Tim Probert, Houston, TX, MX-5, 1:58.818, 80.897
18, MX, {17} Alex Bachoura(R), Houston, TX, MX-5, 1:59.071, 80.725
19, MX, {32} Keith Jensen(R), Dallas, TX, MX-5, 1:59.100, 80.705
20, MX, {23} Christian Tetzlaff, Athens, GA, MX-5, 2:00.859, 79.531
21, MX, {28} Aurora Straus(R), New York, NY, MX-5, 2:04.609, 77.137

1, SBMX, {68} Nikko Reger, Houston, TX, SBMX-5, 2:01.175, 79.323
2, SBMX, {61} Ben Albano, Greenwich, CT, SBMX-5, 2:01.321, 79.228
3, SBMX, {63} Bryan Hixon, San Antonio, TX, SBMX-5, 2:01.486, 79.12
4, SBMX, {65} Robby Foley, Randolph, NJ, SBMX-5, 2:01.600, 79.046
5, SBMX, {62} Kieron O'Rourke, Grand Cayman, SBMX-5, 2:03.163, 78.043
6, SBMX, {67} Sam Adams, Richfield, WI, SBMX-5


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