Southern Contenders

With one race left in the SCCA U.S. Majors Tour Southern Conference, several Mazda drivers are poised to take championships

As the SCCA U.S. Majors Tour Southern Conference begins to wind down its season, with its final race coming up next weekend at Texas World Speedway, nearly a dozen Mazda drivers are in contention for a Conference title. That includes nine in open competition classes where a variety of marques are represented.

One might not know that a lot of different cars are allowed in Street Touring Lite if one didn’t scroll down too far in the point standings, and that’s because the top seven cars are some generation of MX-5. That list is led by John Roberts and his NC MX-5 over Will Snyder, also in a 2006 MX-5. Roberts took both wins in the first SCCA Majors weekend at Texas World Speedway in January, and has been on the podium four times since.

STU in the Southern Conference has been dominated by Luis Rivera and his Miata. Rivera has victories in seven of eight races, with the eighth being a second-place finish. Matthew Reynolds has turned in a similar all-conquering performance, having not lost a single E Production race in the conference this year. Ken Baker is leading in F Production in his Miata with three victories, two at Texas World Speedway and one at Motor Speedway Resort Houston.

Touring 4 is a hard-fought contest between L. Huston, leading the points in his 2009 MX-5, and James Place in his Acura. The two have traded victories throughout the season, although Huston has finished ahead in more races than not. That includes two victories in the previous weekend at Texas World Speedway. Last year’s Runoffs third-place finisher Ryan Kowaleski is third in the points with his MX-5.

The top-three points earners in Formula Atlantic are all in Pro Mazda cars, with David Zavelson leading Wesley Cunningham and Paul Ravaris. The first non-Pro Mazda is Dudley Fleck in fourth, who uses Mazda power in his Swift.

Eighty-four drivers have posted points in Southern Conference Spec Miata competition in 2017, with several of them hitting every conference weekend. Despite that, Chris Haldeman has a solid lead in the points, having scored six wins so far this season. Even the races he’s had to drop – only a racer’s best eight finishes count in the final points – are podium finishes. Toby Linder, Reynolds and Lee Thomas take up the next three positions in the points.

In the spec formula classes, Nicholas Malone leads Formula Mazda by a slim margin over William Snyder, with Liam Snyder, Brad Yake and Karl Markey all in a very close fight for third. Paul Snyder leads Formula Enterprises, but has competed in only two weekends.

In addition to being the final Majors race of the 2017 Southern Conference season, the Memorial Day weekend contest at Texas World Speedway is likely to be the track’s final Majors race, as the venerable speedway is slated to become a housing development. Fortunately for Southern Conference racers, its days as the Lone Star State’s only permanent road racing facility are long past and they now have several other tracks at which to compete.