The first half of NASA's National Championships took place at Road Atlanta in September.

NASA Rolls Into Sonoma

The Western States Championship takes place at Sonoma Raceway this weekend with a large continent of Mazda racers.

The National Auto Sport Association’s second half of its dual Championships takes place this weekend at Sonoma Raceway. The Western States Championships follows the Eastern States Championships held at Road Atlanta in September. This is the first year that NASA has split its championship into East and West Coast events.

Spec Miata will be one of the highlights as always, with 22 entries making it one of the larger single classes. Bruce Pendleton, who will also be competing in PTE and already has a championship in that class, is one of the competitors hoping to do well on the 2.52-mile, 12-turn road course.

“I ran my qualifying races competing in the WERC at Sonoma, Buttonwillow, Thunderhill and Miller Motorsports Park,” Pendleton said. “Local competitors in Spec Miata who should be front runners are Mark Drennan and Craig Evans. Performance Touring Competitors will be long time racers Randy Evans and David Vodden along with Glen McCready, who is a regional champion. I have been racing at Sonoma for over 10 years so I like to think I have a good set-up and know my way around the track. My goal for this year’s championships is to put myself in a position to be able to compete for a podium finish and have fun.”

Another competitor Spec Miata racers should keep an eye out for is Rocky Mountain Mazda Teen Challenge champ and 2013 Mazda Club Racer Shootout finalist Zach Munro.

Like Pendleton, many of the SM competitors will race in other classes or compete in the Time Trials as well. There is also a host of Mazda racers in the Performance Touring classes, especially PTD an PTE. Among them is Florida Miata racer Eric Powell, who finished second in PTE in the Eastern States Championship.

“We will have strong competitors across all of our classes and we are looking forward to a competitive and fun first weekend of November in wine country,” says Will Faules, NASA national event director. “From my home region in Texas to Iowa and all the way up to Michigan we have competitors coming across the country to compete at Sonoma Raceway.”

Mazda racers who win their class at the Western States Championship may be eligible to compete for the scholarship worth $75,000 to compete in next year’s Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires through the Mazda Club Racer Shootout in December. Look for full reports from the event this weekend on mazdamotorsports.com.