SportsCar Names its Solo Nationals Favorites

Mazda competitors are picked in C Street, C Street Prepared and E Mod

The Tire Rack SCCA Solo National Championships at Lincoln Airpark in Lincoln, Neb., is set to break entry records once again, making predicting the winners ever more difficult. Nevertheless, SportsCar, SCCA’s official member magazine, keeps attempting to pick the likely victors. In 2017, they have once again picked several Mazda drivers to take their respective classes.

While there are no sure things, in the case of four classes – C Street and C Street Prepared, along with their Ladies Class counterparts – the chances of a Mazda driver coming away with a win are nearly a given because those classes are populated almost exclusively by Mazdas. The ND Miata has proven the car to have in C Street, and there’s a large number of Miatas and a few Miata RFs entered this year.

Julian Garfield will be driving a 2016 MX-5 in C Street, and SportsCar has picked him to prevail over fellow ND Miata driver Brian McCelvey. The two were in reverse order in 2016. Jason Saini also earned a mention as those who would be near the top, but there are also a huge number of Mazda drivers worthy of mention that SportsCar didn’t have room to include. Andy Hollis falls in that list, as does last year’s third-place finisher, Tyler Kvetko. We’re interested to see what Ryan Kowaleski, who finished third in Touring 4 at last year’s SCCA National Championship Runoffs in an NC MX-5, can do at the Solo Nationals in an ND. Finally, Mark Shrivastava has been tearing it up in the National Solo events, so he could very well be a contender in Lincoln.

In C Street Ladies, Deana Kelley was untouchable in 2016 in an ND Miata, so naturally SportsCar has picked her to win again. They also note, though, that Lisa Garfield has been getting more comfortable in the family Miata, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if she won. Given the entry list so far – all Miatas and all but one an ND – it’s safe to say that a Miata will take this one.

The NAs and NBs dominate the C Street Prepared category, which features cars with far greater modifications than allowed in C Street. SportsCar picked Billy Davis to repeat in the class in his 1999 Miata, but noted that Mike Kline and Matt McCabe could be contenders if they enter. 2016 runner-up Neal Tovsen shouldn’t be overlooked, either. 

C Street Prepared Ladies may or may not have sufficient entries to make a class, but if it does, look for Katie Lacey in 1990 Miata to take it, according to SportsCar. Last year’s runner-up, Gretchen Austin, could be a contender as well now that 2016 champion Tamra Hunt has moved to D Street Prepared with an RX-8 – and it would surprise no one to see Hunt battling for the overall DSP win.

Finally, SportsCar couldn’t pick anyone other than Jeff and Shawn Kiesel to win E Modified and E Mod Ladies. Their Mazda rotary-powered Bugeye Sprite has been terrorizing the class for a decade.

The 2017 SCCA Tire Rack Solo National Championships take place on Sept. 5-8. One set of competitors will run and work on Tuesday-Wednesday, and the other set on Thursday-Friday. 

In Tire Rack SCCA ProSolo National Series, Match Tour and Solo Championship Tour events, Mazda offers competitors up to $275 for a win, $175 for second, $150 for third, $125 for fourth and $100 for a fifth-place finish via its contingency program. Challenge winners in the ProSolo series reap rewards courtesy of Mazda with $350 for a win and $250 for a second-place finish. 

Mazda’s contingency payouts get even more generous for season-ending events, with SCCA ProSolo points winners earning up to $850 for first, $550 for second and $300 for third, while SCCA Solo National Championship competitors can claim up to $850 for a win, $550 for second, $300 for third, $200 for fourth and $125 for fifth. Solo Triad winners receive a $600 bonus through Mazda, and one Solo competitor will qualify for Mazda’s $20,000 Advancement Scholarship.