The battle for the $30,000 Mazda contingency awards prize for earning the most points across any eight SCCA Hoosier Super Tour Spec Miata races results in a narrow victory determined at the last Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA Super Tour event of the season.
Winning in Spec Miata (SM) is one of the most difficult challenges in motorsport. The competition and the talent of the drivers and teams, year-after-year, have shown us that those who succeed in SM, succeed in anything racing – club or professional. Patrick Gallagher, Andrew Carbonell, Selin Rollan, Tom Long, Elivan Goulart, Mark Drennan, and the list goes on. It’s been a springboard for many, as well as a destination series for many.
SM racer, engine builder, and owner of the Texas-based SM prep shop X-Factor Racing, Chris Haldeman, has proven over the years that he is one of the best SM drivers in the world. Michael Carter, teenager, driver for Rossini Racing Products, is known for his infectious smile even when not winning a race. But don’t let that mislead his competitiveness. Carter may be currently the best SM driver in the world. For those who follow the class, you knew this would be a battle of titans. And knowing the special talent this season, Mazda Motorsports put up an additional $30,000 contingency award to be paid to a Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich® Tires team for a two-event sponsorship in 2019 on behalf of $30K SM Challenge winner.
Heading into the final Super Tour round at Watkins Glen International (WGI) this past weekend, after 12 races each, Carter was leading Haldeman by a mere six points, 180-174. Unsure whether Haldeman may show at WGI in an effort to snag away the SM $30K Challenge prize, Carter played it smart and made the journey from Savannah, Georgia. Competing against Tyler Kicera and Elivan Goulart at WGI was another test, one which had Kicera taking both wins, but the journey from Texas did not happen for Haldeman. At WGI, Carter took a second and third place finishes, making it 12 out of 14 races with podium finishes, maintaining his eight-point margin, and claiming Mazda’s Spec Miata $30K Challenge award.
With three race wins, six seconds, three thirds, one fourth, and one 12th place finish, Carter proved he can compete with the best at every track, every time. It should be no surprise that the only SM racer to finish with more wins this season than Carter was Haldeman, bringing home four race victories out of 12 races.*
Mazda Motorsports commends all Mazda drivers, and tips its hat to Michael Carter and Chris Haldeman for putting on a show this season that everyone was hoping for.
*Correction: Published June 26, it was reported that Michael Carter claimed the Hoosier Super Tour Spec Miata championship. However, Chris Haldeman is still in contention based on the SCCA Runoffs points still to be had.