Nine Titles for Seven Mazda Drivers in SCCA’s Southeast

With the Southeastern Conference U.S. Majors Tour concluded, Mazda drivers claim nine conference championships

With such an early start to the season with the Majors in Florida in January, SCCA’s Southeast Conference is also the first to wrap up its U.S. Majors Tour events and points. And with the season now concluded, seven Mazda drivers have won Southeast Conference titles spanning nine classes.

These wins include two drivers who claimed championships in two different, albeit very similar, classes. Todd Vanacore won both Formula Enterprises and Formula Enterprises 2 by competing in every Southeast Conference Majors race with the exception of Charlotte and being first or second in all but one. The first four weekends his car was in FE trim; for the last two, he ran his car with the updated Mazda MZR engine to gets four straight wins in FE2. Paul Schneider was his closest competitor, but a long way off in FE as he entered one fewer Majors weekend. In FE2, Schneider won two races at Charlotte before finishing second to Vanacore at Roebling Road. 

Jacek Mucha also won two championships in what seemed like two different cars, but underneath the skin they were the same. Mucha took four wins in Formula Atlantic to claim that title over Spencer Brockman, last year’s Formula Atlantic runner-up. The car that Mucha drove in Formula Atlantic is a Swift 016 Mazda; the same car serves as the base for the jms016p he races in Prototype 1. Mucha claimed that championship as well, beating Jim Downing and his Peach Mazda Day-02. The following four points earners in P1 were racing Elan DP02 Mazdas, and the third- and fourth-place drivers in FA were in Pro Mazda cars. 

Steve Rose took three wins in the final three weekends to claim the E Production title in his RX-7, edging out Miata racer Don Tucker. In Touring 4, newcomer Gresham Wagner shocked many with his fast and aggressive style as he took four victories out of eight starts in an NC MX-5 to take the championship. Meanwhile, two drivers didn’t have much competition on their way to their titles: Jeff Dernehl in GT-3 and Brad Yake in Formula Mazda.

In terms of sheer competitiveness, it’s tough to beat Spec Miata in the Southeast. Every race is fought tooth-and-nail, and that area of the country has produced a slew of SM national champions over the years, including 2017 champ Preston Pardus. Pardus, however, won’t be claiming a Super Sweep if he repeats as this year’s Runoffs champion because he lost the Southeast Conference title to Michael Carter. Both drivers competed in every race but Charlotte, and claimed half the SM wins in the conference between them – Carter had six, Pardus two, scoring 192 points compared to the 170 points Pardus collected. Danny Steyn, Todd Buras and Chris Haldeman rounded out the top five, Steyn and Buras separated by only a single point. 

Drivers who win an SCCA Conference title, the Hoosier Super Tour points championship and take a Runoffs victory earn SCCA’s Super Sweep award. The Super Tour points championship includes the Runoffs as the final race in the series, so that championship won’t be concluded until the October event at Sonoma Raceway, but Southeast drivers in the running include Vanacore in FE2; Yake in FM (currently in second in the Super Tour points); Jacek Mucha in P1 (currently third in Super Tour points); Dernehl; Carter (trailing Haldeman in Super Tour points by one); and Wagner (currently second in points to California RX-8 driver Ross Murray). 

Southeast Conference SCCA US Majors Tour
Mazda Points Leaders
EP: Steve Rose; Mebane, N.C.; RX-7
FA: Jacek Mucha; Highland Beach, Fla.; Swift 016 Mazda
FE: Todd Vanacore; Ormond Beach, Fla.; Formula Enterprises Mazda
FE2: Todd Vanacore; Ormond Beach, Fla.; Formula Enterprises 2 Mazda
FM: Brad Yake; Fort Worth, Texas; Formula Mazda
GT-3: Jeff Dernehl; Woodstock, Ga.; RX-7
P1: Jacek Mucha; Highland Beach, Fla.; jms016cp Mazda
SM: Michael Carter Jr.; Savannah, Ga.; Miata
T4: Gresham Wagner; Williamsburg, Va.; 2009 MX-5