SCCA’s Southeastern and Mid-States Majors Tour converged this past weekend at NOLA Motorsports Park, Avondale, La, with 16 class wins going to Mazda competitors – the most among any manufacturer.
Located miles from the French Quarter in New Orleans, racers took to the NOLA circuit on Saturday, garnering eight track records; Sunday was little different – six drivers posted new track records. But the big winners for the weekend were those who took the checkered flags; both days produced eight Mazda class winners. Seen above, Matt Reynolds was one who took the checkered both days.
On Saturday, the eight entries in Formula Mazda were given the opportunity to race solely amongst themselves thanks to a split start in Group 2. From the green, 15-year-old Jacob Loomis dominated the class. He was able to lead flag to flag and take home a win at the SCCA U.S. Majors Tour.
The fifth group of the day held the most diversity with ten car classes being represented in the Production, Street Touring, and Touring categories. In E Production, Matt Reynolds, Fair Oaks, Tx., drove his Mazda Miata to the checkered, continuing his dominant performances behind the wheel. In F Production, Mark Weber, Saint Louis, Mo., Mazda Miata took the win. Touring 4 saw a stellar performance by Dave Ogburn III, San Angelo, Tx., winning in his Mazda RX-8.
In Super Touring Lite, Brian Laughlin dominated most of the race in his Tulsa Radiology Associates/Mazda/Hoosier Mazda Miata. Throughout the late stages of the race, Bruce Andersen closed the gap in his Senson Racing Grp/Autotechnik Racing Mazda Miata. He caught Laughlin on the last lap and was able to execute the pass, only leading the final lap but taking home the checkered flag.
In Spec Miata, Chris Haldeman took the checkered by almost 5.5 seconds over Andrew Carbonell of BSI RACING, who had a great battle with Alex Balanos. Carbonell edged Balanos by just over one tenth of a second for second place.
Alan Marshall and Jim Downing continued their winning ways on Saturday. Marshall, in GT-3, from Bulverde, Tx., drove his Mazda RX-7 first to the checkered. In Prototype 1, Jim Downing, Atlanta, Ga., drove his Peach Mazda Day-02 first to the line.
Sunday’s races kicked off with the highly popular Spec Miata class. Thirty-two cars started the race in the late morning. Within the first two laps, the pack settled into single file, only deviating when a driver chose to make a strategic move. Four drivers held the lead throughout the race. Pole sitter Chris Haldeman held onto the position he earned in qualifying for the first three laps in his X-Factor Racing Mazda Miata. Blake Clements then claimed the position and held on for an additional four laps in his OPM Autosports/G-LOC Brakes Miata, despite growing pressure from Andrew Carbonell in his BSI Racing Miata. Carbonell took the position on the eighth lap and held the lead despite the top four cars running in a tight string. On lap 13, Clements made an attempt to regain the lead, only to be denied and end up back in fourth. This move opened the door for Selin M. Rollan in his Apex Alignment/BSI Racing/Rossini Racing Miata. Rollan claimed the top spot on the second-to-last lap, after Carbonell’s hub failed; but it was not over yet. Multiple racers attempted to make passes for the top spot on the last lap only to be denied. Rollan held on to take the first checkered flag of the day.
Matt Reynolds (E Production), Jacob Loomis (Formula Mazda), Alan Marshall (GT-3), and Jim Downing (Prototype 1) all took wins on Saturday and again on Sunday.
Four Mazda drivers took their first race wins of the weekend on Sunday:
F Production, Weber Manning, Germantown, Tenn., Mazda Miata
Spec Miata, Selin M. Rollan, Miami, Fla., Mazda Miata
Super Touring Lite, Brian Laughlin, Tulsa, Ok., Mazda Miata
Touring 4, Kevin Koelemeyer, Fort Meyers, Fla., Mazda MX-5
Racing in the U.S. Majors Tour Southeast Conference continues March 18-20 at Road Atlanta. The U.S. Majors Tour Mid-States Conference continues April 9-10 at Hallett Motor Racing Circuit.