After pursuing professional racing in the Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup, Drennan’s focus turns to the 2018 Runoffs
After a couple of years racing professionally in the Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich® Tires, Mark Drennan is returning to his club racing roots – all the while hunting for redemption at one of his favorite local tracks. Drennan, it should be noted, lost the 2014 NASA Western States Championships at Sonoma Raceway in Spec Miata, finishing third in the final race after dominating the qualifying races. That was after being first finisher at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca a month earlier and losing the win as one of the racers caught up in the plunge-cut episode. But while Drennan succeeded in winning both NASA Championships in Spec Miata a year later, he still hunts for the elusive Runoffs victory – and with the 2018 SCCA Runoffs at Sonoma Raceway, this could be his year.
“I am just happy to be back running with SCCA,” Drennan said after winning both races at the Willow Springs SCCA U.S. Majors Tour in March. “It’s a great start to the season and I look forward to it all culminating at the Runoffs at Sonoma, my favorite track.”
Drennan’s double NASA titles in 2015 earned him an invite to the Mazda Road to 24 Shootout, held that year at Carolina Motorsports Park with the brand new Mazda MX-5 Cup car based on the fourth-generation Miata. He didn’t earn the free ride, but he went into the series anyway. He proved quick and won a couple of races in 2016 but suffered bad luck with some pretty big crashes. He only ran a partial season in 2017.
“I’m stepping out of the pro stuff primarily because it’s so expensive,” he says. “Racing can be cruel sometimes, and I definitely had my fair share of bad luck, and I made some mistakes as well – but I think there was a lot more bad luck than mistakes. It all added up to a lot of money and I think I’ve exhausted my excess income.”
Drennan says he’s considering the Toyo race at the NASA Nationals with the big purse but thinks his chances there aren’t as good as they are at the Runoffs. Regardless, he may venture to Austin and Circuit of the Americas for a race in May just to get a feel for the event. Meanwhile, though, he’s concentrating on qualifying for and being ready for the SCCA Runoffs, where he thinks he has a pretty good shot.
“I know I’m going to contend, but it would be foolish to think that I’m going to dominate,” he says. “But I’m going to do everything in my power to be prepared. My formula has always been to get the best equipment and get the best help and be the best prepared, and that puts you in a good position that’s kind of ‘no excuses.’ That’s how I prepared for 2014 … that same kind of preparation and determination is going to see me through.”