NASA Western States Championship Notebook

Three Mazda racers have different motivation in seeking a NASA national championship.





Van Caneghem Shoots for NASA Championships Hat Trick
Jon Van Caneghem, of Marina Del Ray, Calif., is the defending SU class NASA National Champion and he is gunning for this third Championship in as many years at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca this weekend.

Van Caneghem will drive a Mazda-powered No. 7 Elan DP02 in the SU class.

A video game industry designer/producer, he knows all about how to perform at a high level in the world of virtual reality (i.e., video games). Due to limited test time during a race weekend, he relies heavily on watching video and doing virtual laps in his head, he says.

Holloway looks to capture his second career NASA Championship at Mazda Raceway
Dennis Holloway, of  Huntington Beach, California, will try to capture his second-career NASA Championship this weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. He has won one, and, with one exception, every year one of his Robert Davis Racing teammates has participated, they have a victory.

Holloway is excited to drive the No. 5 Mazda RX-8 in the PTC class. In fact, it’s the same car that Rick Gilhart won a national championship in a several years ago.

While this weekend’s national championship races are 45-minute sprint races, Holloway is no stranger to endurance racing. Last year, he competed NASA’s 25 Hours of Thunderhill in a different, green, Mazda RX-8 the crew calls Kermit.

Powell Hopes NASA Championship Will Bring Mazda Shootout Opportunity
Eric Powell, a Floridian and full-time stunt driver for Walt Disney World, hopes that by winning the PTD class NASA National Championship this weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, that it will also earn him a spot in the Mazda Club Racer Shootout. Powell drove from the East Coast to chase a dream that means everything to him.

The car that will hopefully take Powell to victory circle and give him a shot at his dream is his No. 174 Mazda Miata that is classed via dyno. He built a motor that made big power, then detuned it. With the rules, he can build the motor any way he wants it as long as it stays below a certain horsepower level. So Powell built it so that the power band is very flat.

Powell earned a spot in the Shootout last year by virtue of winning PTD at the NASA Western States Championships, but missed winning the big prize.