Brian Laughlin took the STL win at Hallett on Sunday ahead of Jim Drago.

Mazda Drivers Roll to Oklahoma Wins

Prime weather conditions on Saturday greeted a record number of racers at the opening day of the SCCA U.S. Majors Tour Mid-States Conference doubleheader weekend at Hallett Motor Racing Circuit, but it wouldn’t last.

Sunny skies and good air allowed each of the 142 registered entrants to get the most horsepower out of their machines on Saturday. That was evidenced by the four track records that were set around the 11-turn, 1.8-mile circuit in Oklahoma.

The battle in F Production was the most captivating of the four classes. Eric Prill jumped out to the early lead in hi s No. 7 Super Max/Jesse Prather Motorsports/Hoosier Tires Mazda Miata as local Driver Nigel Saurino got caught up in traffic. However, Saurino and his Midget caught Prill by the race’s halfway point.

That wasn’t the end of the on-track battle, though. During lap 13, Prill took a huge bite out of Saurino’s lead, closing the gap to less than one second. In the end, Saurino’s speed proved to be too much, as he was able to increase his lead and cruise to the win.

In Sunday’s early laps, it looked like Saurino had the field covered. However, Prill kept himself in contention and was able to take advantage as Saurino’s machine began to give out. Prill made the pass around Saurino’s faltering car and cruised to victory.

Jesse Prather, of Topeka, Kan., scored the Saturday E Production win in his No. 34 Jesse Prather Motorsports/MAZDASPEED Mazda MX-5. However, Matt Reynolds, of Fair Oaks, Texas, set a new class lap record of 1:22.442 – an omen for the next day, when he would take the class victory.

Group Three, Spec Miata, featured a red-hot battle at the front of the pack in the waning laps of the 25-minute sprint race on Saturday. The eventual winner Jim Drago, of Memphis, Tenn., took the lead from the start. Reynolds, who qualified second, was able to parlay some of his record-setting pace into his Spec Miata race, passing Drago for the lead on lap eight. By lap 12, Drago had regained the lead only to have Reynolds retake the lead four laps later. On the penultimate lap, Drago made his move to the fore once again and close out the race behind the wheel of his No. 2 East Street Racing Mazda Miata.

The battle only intensified after a night’s rest. Drago would take the win again, but it was not easy by any means. Reynolds was fast all weekend and showed he could match Drago’s pace, step for step. Before starting lap seven, Reynolds and Drago had traded the lead twice at the line. Reynolds made a final push for the lead, sparking a late-race lead exchange. However, Drago proved he was up to the task, regaining the top position and taking the win, despite the best efforts of Reynolds.

The battle between Formula Mazda class winner Alan McCallum, of Houston, Texas, and second-place-finisher Moses Smith took center stage in Group Four on Saturday. While Smith out-qualified McCallum, the latter worked his way into the lead around Smith on lap five. The next seven laps played out like a high-speed game of chess as McCallum, in his No. 9 Alan McCallum Racing Formula Mazda, patiently waited to make his move. On lap 12, McCallum saw his opportunity to pounce and made his pass count then pushed hard to build a gap to Smith. McCallum repeated the win on Sunday, as did Formula Atlantic winner Gaston Kearby in his Pro Formula Mazda.

Super Touring Lite was the main attraction in the Touring Class, Group Six. Jim Drago looked poised to take another win, but Brian Laughlin, of Tulsa, Okla., broke up Drago’s attempt at the Hallett double. Driving his No. 25 Tulsa Radiology Associates/Mazda/Hoosier Tire Mazda Miata, Laughlin spent 15 laps staying just off the rear deck lid of Drago. After taking the lead, Laughlin held the lead for the remaining three of 18 laps. Laughlin was another repeat winner on Sunday.

Although rain would hit Northeast Oklahoma before Sunday was out, the weather was still good for a fantastic three-way GT-Lite battle. Kent Prather was able to move to the lead around initial GTL leader Roy Lopshire by lap 13. Jonathan Goodale took advantage of the move and followed Prather, slotting into second. On lap 18, Goodale put his No. 04 MAZDASPEED/Hoosier/ Mazda MX-5 into position to get around Prather and made the pass stick.

The next stop for the SCCA U.S. Majors Tour Mid-States Conference is scheduled for May 3-4, at High Plains Raceway in Pueblo, Colo.


SCCA Mid-States Conference Majors Tour
Hallett Motor Racing Circuit
April 5-6, 2014

Round 5 results

Class Driver Hometown Car
Formula Atlantic Gaston Kearby Corpus Christi Texas Pro Formula Mazda
Formula Mazda Alan McCallum Houston Texas Formula Mazda
E Production Jesse Prather Topeka Kan. Mazda MX-5
Spec Miata Jim Drago Memphis Tenn. Mazda Miata

Round 6 Results

Class Driver Hometown Car
Formula Atlantic Gaston Kearby Corpus Christi Texas Pro Formula Mazda
Formula Mazda Alan McCallum Houston Texas Formula Mazda
E Production Matt Reynolds Fair Oaks Texas Mazda Miata
F Production Eric Prill Topeka Kan. Mazda Miata
GT-Lite Jonathan Goodale Conifer Colo. Mazda MX-5
Spec Miata Jim Drago Memphis Tenn. Mazda Miata
Super Touring Lite Brian Laughlin Tulsa Okla. Mazda Miata