The 52nd SCCA National Championship Runoffs wraps up at Daytona International Speedway with two more Mazda drivers on their respective podiums.
The high banks of Daytona International Speedway offered unique opportunities for many racers during the 2015 SCCA National Championship Runoffs Presented by Garmin VIRB. On the final day, Mazda racers scored podium finishes in two more classes. We caught up with Mazda North American Operations’ Director of Motorsports John Doonan to get his perspective on the weekend, one for which Doonan says he has more enduring passion than any other event: “I’ve been a racing fan since I was a child. Watching the SCCA Runoffs has been the event I have looked forward to most. This year’s Runoffs presented some of the best racing I have ever seen. The racecraft put on display in each and every race demonstrated the competitors’ skill sets, mutual respect for one another, and true passion for racing. All the racers showed their mettle and we cannot be more proud.”
Mike Henderson finished third in GT-3 in his RX-7 after a hard-fought battle with Chad Bacon for second. Henderson, of El Cajon, Calif., had been chasing the leader, but Bacon caught him in the latter stages of the race. Henderson said he expected to get a better run off the bus stop chicane and run Bacon down before the finish, but he left the bus stop on the final lap in the wrong gear and couldn’t pull it off.
Aaron Downey, another Southern California driver, said he thought he his E Production RX-3 was a fourth- to sixth-place car. While he had been preparing it for Daytona all season and thought the top end strength was going to give him a good car for the track, he began to rethink that after qualifying. But attrition at the front while his RX-3 ran like clockwork and Downey reeled off consistent laps delivered him a third-place finish in E Production.
Not counting the spec classes – Spec Miata and Formula Mazda – that brought Mazda’s total to seven in six classes, out of 11 classes in which Mazdas were entered.
Changes in Official Results
In Spec Miata, Cory Collum was disqualified after post-race technical inspection, elevating Alex Bolanos to third in the final standings.
Charlie Campbell was penalized a few positions for contact in F Production, which moved Eric Prill to second and fellow Miata racer Ken Kannard to third.
MAZDA MOTORSPORTS RUNOFFS RECAP
Once again, Mazda Motorsports led the way at the 2015 SCCA National Championship Runoffs Presented by Garmin VIRB. With 144 entries, Mazda topped the entry charts. With 61 starters in Spec Miata, Mazda had the largest class among the 27 races held over three days at Daytona International Speedway. And, working with the SCCA, Mazda made history with the first night race in the 52 year history of the Runoffs—the Spec Miata race was held under the lights on Friday night.
“We love this event. So many of our racers have been racing with Mazda for decades; they are very much our extended family,” noted John Doonan, director of motorsports, Mazda North American Operations. “We enjoyed a great awards banquet dinner for over 500 of our team members on Wednesday night; staged a once-in-a-lifetime photo; were mesmerized by the first-ever night race at the Runoffs; and showcased our new 2016 Global MX-5 Cup race car in front of one of the most influential groups of car people in the world.”
• 144 entries – 25 percent of all cars at the competition, more than any other automaker.
• The Spec Miata race, with 61 cars taking the green flag was the largest race.
• Mazda racers scored two race wins, 13 podium finishes, and three pole positions.
$34,000 in contingency awards were earned by Mazda racers.
The 2015 Mazda-powered SCCA National Runoffs Champions are:
Joseph Burton-Harris – Formula Mazda
Jonathan Goring – Spec Miata
Burton-Harris and Goring are now eligible for the Mazda Road to 24 shootout. The Mazda Road to 24 shootout awards the single largest prize in club racing. Since 2006, Mazda has annually promoted one talented club racer to the professional ranks. The $100,000 scholarship funds a drive in the 2016 Battery Tender® Mazda MX-5 Cup. This is a part of the Mazda Road to 24, the sports car counterpart to the Mazda Road to Indy.