Mazda racers score four podium finishes in second day of SCCA National Championship Runoffs Presented by Garmin VIRB at Daytona International Speedway.
It was a day of close but no cigar for Mazda racers at the 52nd SCCA National Championship Runoffs. Several led their respective races, but none finished atop the podium.
At one point in the Formula Atlantic race, a Mazda-powered Swift 016.a occupied both first and second. Both Michael Mallinen and Dudley Fleck led the race, but first Mallinen dropped out and then polesitter Tyler Hunter recovered from an early race off-course excursion to catch back up to Fleck and pass him. Fleck finished second for Mazda’s first podium of the day.
One of the most exciting contests on Saturday was in F Production. Gary Baucom led early until contact with Charlie Campbell led to a spin, and Campbell led a lap until he was passed by Joe Huffaker’s Midget. Huffaker led until he cut a tire, and Campbell took the lead again in his MIata, but he was being hounded by Eric Prill’s Miata, who had caught back up after being tapped by Campbell and spun in the braking zone for the bus stop.
Prill took the lead on lap 10 and led the next two laps with Campbell chasing. Further back were polesitter Kevin Ruck, who was recovering from an early-race tank-slapper at the bus stop, and Miata racer Ken Kannard. Campbell took the lead from Prill on the penultimate lap, and Prill said he thought he was in the right position at that point to be able to draft by at the finish.
Unfortunately, Campbell bobbled in the bus stop, Prill had to check up and, even though he got by Campbell, had lost much of his momentum. That set up the race deciding draft with Ruck and Campbell, and Ruck’s Acura crossed the strip first, followed by Campbell and Prill.
Mazda’s final podium of the day came courtesy of Michael Kamalian, who was racing a Miata in GT-Lite. Kamalian finished third in a relatively uneventful race.