Elliot Finlayson dominated Formula Enterprises to win his first national championship
As most predicted, Elliot Finlayson became the fifth Mazda SCCA national champion in the first race on Sunday morning, Oct. 1, to kick off the third race day of the SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Runoffs rookie Finlayson, of Yorkville, Ill., went flag-to-flag to clinch his first national championship, finishing the 19-lap race nearly 13 seconds ahead of second-place rookie Justin Gordon, of Lake Worth, Fla. Paul Schneider, of Charlotte, N.C., completed the podium, claiming his third consecutive Runoffs third-place finish.
“I am trying to soak it all in,” Finlayson laughed as he pointed to his champagne-soaked race suit. “Winning my first SCCA National Championship Runoffs is a big accomplishment. We had a lot of good results in our region, and to cap-off my season with a win here at Indy is a great way to end my rookie FE season.”
Finlayson dominated this season, securing the SCCA Northern Conference U.S. Majors Tour Championship on his way to the Runoffs. Finlayson is also a finalist for the Team USA Scholarship program that has helped many young Americans launch a professional career in the world of motorsports.
Driving his No. 59 Performance AFX Motorsports FE Mazda, Finlayson was challenged only once the entire race. Sitting on pole, Finlayson got the jump on front-row contender Flinn Lazier. The third-generation racer tried to insert his nose on the inside of Finlayson’s machine in Turn 1, but Finlayson shut the door on Lazier, pulling a full car length in front. From that point on, Finlayson commanded the race, capitalizing on his lead every lap.
Later, Lazier had a mechanical problem to end his challenge, allowing Gordon to come through for second.
“Sometimes you just have to be patient,” said Gordon. “I told myself, hit your marks, don’t hit the curbs and just wait on someone to do something. That’s what I tried to accomplish, but I didn’t get much relief, though, as Flinn pulled off, because Paul and Brandon were right there.”
Finlayson’s title was the fifth Mazda championship of this year’s Runoffs. Keith Grant won the Formula Atlantic title in a Swift 016a Mazda; Preston Pardus won Spec Miata; Eric Prill took the championship in F Production in a Miata; and Melvin David Kemper earned the title in Formula Mazda.
2017 Mazda SCCA National Champions
Class: Driver; Hometown; Car
Formula Atlantic: Keith Grant; Germantown, Tenn.; Swift 016a Mazda
Formula Mazda: Melvin David Kemper Jr.,; Toledo, Wash.; Star Formula Mazda
Formula Enterprises: Elliot Finlayson; Yorkville, Ill.; Formula Enterprises Mazda
F Production: Eric Prill; Topeka, Kan.; Miata
Spec Miata: Preston Pardus; New Smyrna Beach, Fla.; Miata