Seeking Championships at VIR

Mazda racers are hoping to score titles at the NASA Eastern States Championships at VIRginia International Raceway.

The second annual NASA Eastern States Championships presented by Toyo Tires to run at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) Sept. 3-6 is getting competitive entries. East coast NASA racers are preparing for the big event at VIR, where the 3.27-mile, 17-turn circuit will challenge the 300-plus drivers coming to compete.

Mark Drennan made his mark at the NASA Western States Championships by winning the Spec Miata Class as well as the new BMW Spec E46 Class. Drennan is going for a Miata and BMW double by also entering the Eastern States event.

“I originally signed up for the Spec E46 race, renting a good car from one of the class founders, Jason Tower,” Drennan said. “I wanted to meet the other E46 drivers and, if I was fortunate enough to win the West, I want to see if I can consolidate the National Championship. After winning the Western States Champs in Spec Miata and Spec E46, I got a call about an open transport spot for a car and decided to bring one of my Spec Miata cars. The Spec Miata field in the East is deep with talent and I’m always looking to challenge myself.  I’ve been to VIR twice, once in 2013 in a Spec Miata and a few weeks ago for a NASA regional in the rented Spec E46. I posted two wins that weekend.

“In Spec Miata, there’s a handful of super-fast drivers, but the top two are Danny Steyn and last year’s Eastern States Champ Alex Bolanos,” Drennan adds.

Bolanos is coming back in his No. 57 Mazda Miata and is looking to repeat his win at Road Atlanta in 2014 in Spec Miata.

“The goal is to win and defend my title,” Bolanos said. “I am doing some setup changes, specific to VIR, for the Toyo tire as I’ve always run there on Hoosiers. I think that the runner up from last year, Danny Steyn, and 2012 champ Yiannis Tsiounis will be strong for the championships as well as the local talent.”

Jon Felton, NASA National event manager, has his team in full planning mode for the east coast event.

“We have great participation from our administrative team on the east coast,” Felton said. “Everything is progressing toward the first weekend in September. The racers are ready and we are still getting entries.”

Virginia International Raceway’s 3.27 miles encompasses nearly every kind of turn. The fast Esses that lead into the signature Oak Tree Turn are known throughout the racing community. The long laps will reward a good race car set-up and require the competitors to display their driving skills as well as race craft.