McCumbee Returns to Road America with New Look Hoping for Same Success
Tuesday, July 31, 2018

As the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge rolls into Road America for the ninth of 12 rounds on the 2018 calendar, the competition across all three classes is tighter than ever and anyone will have a shot to bring home the victory.

Just ask Chad McCumbee, who one year ago in the No. 25 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5 co-driven with Stevan McAleer, took home the surprising rain-shortened victory in the Street Tuner (ST) class.

“Road America has always been one of my favorite racetracks to drive,” said McCumbee. “In years past, driving the Mazda MX-5 there, it’s not necessarily the best suited car there for the racetrack, but we’ve always been competitive nonetheless and we were able to pick up the win there last year with a little help from The Man upstairs and some weather.”

McCumbee returns to Wisconsin this weekend looking to defend his victory, however, in a different car and a different class. Making the jump to the top-tier Grand Sport (GS) class, McCumbee now sits behind the wheel of the No. 8 ModSpace Multimatic Motorsports Ford Mustang GT4 with Patrick Gallagher.

And despite having partnered with McAleer for the past four seasons – which included a ST championship in 2015 – if there was one guy to slide into the co-driver seat with McCumbee, it would be Gallagher.

A Continental Tire Challenge rookie, Gallagher hails from the Global MX-5 Cup series, more specifically McCumbee McAleer Racing. Gallagher and the team took the MX-5 Cup title last year, which provided the monetary support for his ride with IMSA this season.

“To see his progression into the Mustang this year, he caught on immediately,” said McCumbee, who actually met Gallagher in 2013 while both were driving for CJ Wilson Racing. “Every single week he gets better, and he knows the areas he wants to get better in and he attacks that. He’s willing to listen to feedback and wants feedback every time he’s on the racetrack. I haven’t seen a situation yet where he hasn’t gotten better from session-to-session, day-to-day, racetrack-to-racetrack.”

While the duo endured their struggles early in the season, McCumbee and Gallagher have hit their stride during the summer stretch races. After finishing second at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in May, the No. 8 team collected the four-hour endurance victory at Watkins Glen International in July and another top-five finish the following week at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

“The momentum that we have with our ModSpace Ford right now is really good,” said McCumbee. “We’re coming off a huge win at Watkins Glen, at the four hour, and a really competitive run at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park where we led some laps and certainly had a strong result. I feel like we’re on as good a roll as we could be.”

Road America is certainly a place where McCumbee, a North Carolina native, is eager to keep the momentum going.

“I think it’s the history of the race track and I think it presents a lot of different challenges,” said McCumbee. “There’s obviously some iconic corners at the racetrack that you’ve really got to be precise on and there’s also some places that you can really get the car all the way to the limit and keep it there for a sustained period of time.

“I also enjoy working with the car, trying to figure out what we need and what’s going to race the best, because sometimes you can find a certain setup package that will get you the initial speed but may not be the best race setup. I wouldn’t consider (Road America) a high grip surface so you’re sliding around a little bit and it wears the tires out a little bit. It’s just all around a fun racetrack and with it being such a long racetrack, one mistake on one lap could really cost you a lot.”

The Road America 120 featuring the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge goes green on Saturday, August 4 at 4:05 p.m. CT and can be streamed live on IMSA.tv. Before the race, fans onsite will have the opportunity to see the cars up close and meet the drivers during the pre-race fan grid walk on pit lane, which begins at 3:10 p.m.

The race will be carried live by IMSA Radio on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com. It will be broadcast on a tape-delayed basis on Saturday, August 12 at 9:30 a.m. EDT on FS1. Tickets are available now at RoadAmerica.com.

Partners