Mazda racers seek glory at the SCCA Runoffs, with good shots at winning in GT-3, GT-Lite and B-Spec
When it comes to Mazda racers hoping to do well in the GT categories and B-Spec at this year’s SCCA National Championship Runoffs later this month at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, one likely winner pops to mind: Michael Kamalian. His GT-Lite MX-5 is working extremely well, and he might have taken home the top trophy last year had it not been for a wayward mirror.
Kamalian and his camouflage grey car are the favorites to win the class, according to SportsCar magazine, SCCA’s official publication. While his production-based racer has some disadvantages to the tubeframe cars that make up much of the class, he’s shown he has the speed to make a championship happen. At the same time, we can’t discount Jonathan Goodale’s NC-based GT-L car. If Kamalian isn’t the top Mazda, it’s likely Goodale will be. Bill Meyer will also be there with a Miata, and James Gregorius is bringing an RX-7.
In GT-3, there’s a driver who wins every time he shows up, but he’s not in a Mazda and he’s entered this year. In fact, despite Stacy Wilson winning the 2016 National Championship in his RX-7 at Mid-Ohio, SportsCar didn’t pick a single Mazda driver to finish on the podium. But history has shown that anything can happen at the Runoffs. Ask Gary Bockman, who looked like he was headed for a championship in 2016 in his RX-3 until a mechanical problem took him out. So right there are two drivers, Wilson and Bockman, who have shown they have the speed to win this thing.
There are many others, though; there’s a host of fast GT-3 RX-7s of every generation. Start with Rob Warkocki, the 2010 and 2013 champ. But don’t ignore James Ashe, Jeff Dernehl or Bill McGavic, all of whom have their share of SCCA Majors wins this season. In fact, McGavic ran the Southeast table with six wins in six races.
There are only a couple of Mazdas in GT-2 – Taz Harvey and Darren Dilley. Harvey has been developing the ex-SpeedSource Grand-Am RX-8 in which he finished fourth last year at the Runoffs, and is a good threat for the podium. Harvey will be one of the few drivers to have any experience at Indy, having run the SVRA Brickyard Invitational in his RX-8 a few months ago.
Four B-Spec Mazda2 drivers are entered for the Runoffs – Tom Coury, William Dergosits, Ted Sahley and Cherie Storms. Sahley continues to get a lot of track time competing in World Challenge, and there’s a good chance that he and SCCA Northern Conference champ Coury will lead the Mazda contingent.