132 Mazda Racers Looking to Score Gold in Racings Biggest Club Event
October 7, 2014 (IRVINE, Calif.) — Now in its 51st year, there is no bigger road racing club event than the annual SCCA National Championship Runoffs. Mazda racers have scored 81 Championships at the Runoffs since 1977. Making this years’ competition even sweeter for the Mazda racers is the venue, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. This will be the first time since 1968 that the Runoffs have been held on the West Coast, and the first time ever at Mazda Raceway.
“Club Racing is what has grown Mazda Motorsports for over two decades,” said John Doonan, director of Mazda Motorsports. “Key to that growth has been the MX-5 Miata and partnerships with the SCCA and Mazda Raceway. To bring them all together on the 25th anniversary of the Miata makes this a very special week for us.”
Of the 531 cars entered in the 2014 SCCA National Championship Runoffs, 132 are Mazda cars, or Mazda-powered cars. This is a 25% market share, the largest of any car company.
The 132 cars are entered in 15 of the 27 classes including two Mazda exclusive classes, Spec Miata and Formula Mazda. Spec Miata is tied for being the largest class with 46 entries.
The Mazda racers hale from 23 states and one Canadian province. Leading the charge is 55 entries from California. Also represented is Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. The lone Canadian lists his home as British Columbia.
Interesting storylines at the Runoffs include:
- Danny Bender, who is a Mazda sales consultant. Danny will be racing a MX-5 in the Touring 4 class.
- James Wilson who will be DRIVING his street legal Mazda2 B-Spec racecar from Austin, Texas to Monterey, California.
- Jesse Prather, who in addition to building his own racecar, built the engines for over a dozen other Mazda competitors. Among his customers is his dad Kent. The MX-5 that Kent will be racing had 319,765 road miles on it before it became a racecar. The car has since won five Runoffs championships, three with Jesse, and two with Kent.
- Professional racer Andrew Carbonell, taking a break from his Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge duties to race in Spec Miata, where he learned his racecraft.
- Mazda SKYACTIV Prototype racer Tom Long and 2014 MX-5 Cup Champion Kenton Koch will be at the Runoffs, as driver coachs to several Mazda club racers.
- Old school racers Aaron Downey and Gary Bockman, racing Mazda RX-3’s, among the oldest cars in the field.
- Spec Miata is typically the largest race at the Runoffs. In 2013, Spec Miata set the all-time record for the Runoffs with 63 starters.
- Mazda racers Jim Drago, Mark Drennan, Jason Godfrey, Dan Harding, Kyle Kaiser, Michal Karpinski, Matt Reynolds and Ken Sutherland are entered in two classes each.
- Past Runoffs Champions competing this year include Jon Brakke, Jim Drago, Marc Hoover, Alan McCallum, Jesse Prather, Kent Prather, Rob Warkocki, and Darryl Wills. Jesse Prather and Darryl Wills are both seeking to become the first-ever four-time Mazda-powered champion at the Runoffs.
- Mazda pays out more prize money than any other car company at the Runoffs, typically over $50,000.
- Mazda racers who win a SCCA championship are eligible for the Mazda Club racer shootout, a $75,000 prize.
The racing takes place October 6-12, 2014 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. Monday, October 6 is a test day followed by three days of practice and qualifying October 6th – 9th. There is an exclusive Mazda Motorsports team dinner on Wednesday, October 8th for the Mazda racers and their teams. The weekend concludes with 24 races over three days, October 10th – 12th (eight races per day). Tickets are available online at www.mazdaraceway.com
About Mazda, Mazda Motorsports, and MAZDASPEED
Mazda is a leading player in all aspects of sports car racing with an emphasis on endurance road racing. Mazda is the number-one brand for road-racers across North America among both club racers and professionals. Thousands of Mazda-powered grassroots racers compete in various classes with the SCCA and NASA highlighted by Spec Miata, the world’s largest spec class with over 2,500 cars built. Via the Mazda SportsCar Racing Academy, Mazda supports racers at all levels of the sport from club racing up to the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship where it races with production SKYACTIV Technology.
Mazda remains the only Asian car company to score an overall win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (1991). Mazda has had a naming rights agreement at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca since 2000.
Mazda Motorsports is managed by Mazda North American Operations (MNAO). MNAO is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of
Mazda vehicles in the United States and Mexico through nearly 700 dealers. Operations in Mexico are managed by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.
Consumer information can be found at www.mazdausa.com, with press information at www.mazdausamedia.com. Racers and fans can follow the action on Facebook (Mazda Motorsports), Twitter (@mazdaracing), Instagram (MazdaMotorsport) and www.mazdamotorsports.com