Mazda power does well in FA, P1, FP and STL
Spencer Brockman, the Formula Atlantic third-place finisher at the 2017 SCCA National Championship Runoffs and a participant in the Mazda Road to Indy shootout, only competed in two weekends in SCCA’s Northeast Conference, but the three wins and a third he accumulated during the double-race weekends were enough for him to claim the conference title.
The Northeast Conference ended its SCCA U.S. Majors Tour season at New Jersey Motorsports Park after starting the year barely three months earlier with a joint race alongside the Southeast Conference at VIRginia International Raceway. In between, there were Majors races at Summit Point, Pitt Race Complex, Watkins Glen and Thompson Speedway. Two of those events – VIR and the Glen – also served as rounds of the Hoosier Racing Tire Super Tour.
Others beside Brockman in the open-wheel categories who did well were Justin Huffman and Keith McDonald in Formula Enterprises and FE2. Huffman won four races, sweeping Summit Point and Pitt Race, plus had three seconds in eight races to best McDonald in FE. But McDonald was perfect in four races in FE2, sweeping the Thompson and New Jersey weekends.
Steel Cities Region member Bryan Putt claimed Prototype 2 in a Mazda-powered Elan DP02 despite only entering two weekends. But nobody else had more than two starts, so his sweep at Pitt Race and a second at VIR sealed his finish atop the points.
Charlie Campbell competed at every event with the exception of Thompson, scoring six victories in F Production in his Miata. That gave him a 96-point margin to fellow Mazda driver Daniel Thiel. Campbell and Thiel weren’t the only Mazda drivers at the top of FP, as the top five cars in the points were Miatas.
Of course, it is a given that a Miata driver will win SM, but it’s not an easy one to win in any conference and that’s especially true in the Northeast. Nick Leverone only had one win in his ’94, at Thompson, but his eight starts that included a trio of runner-up finishes gave him a healthy margin over Pete Phillips Jr. Marc Cefalo had the most wins in the Northeast, going a perfect four-for-four to finish third in the conference.
Conventional wisdom says that the front-wheel-drive cars have the edge in Super Touring Lite, but Craig McHaffie cast doubt on that theory by taking four victories – sweeping Summit Point and Thompson – in his third-generation MX-5. That alone would have been enough to take the conference title, but his total of 10 races started sealed the deal.
Now those in the Northeast making the haul to Sonoma Raceway will be looking toward the SCCA National Championship Runoffs in October. Others can concentrate on next season and look forward to qualifying for the 2019 Runoffs at VIR.
U.S. Majors Tour
Mazda Points Leaders
Class: Driver; Hometown; Car
Formula Atlantic: Spencer Brockman; Westport, Ct.; Swift 014 Mazda
Formula Enterprises: Justin Huffman; Herndon, Va.; Van Diemen FE Mazda
Formula Enterprises 2: Keith McDonald; Ranson, W.V.; Van Diemen FE2 Mazda
F Production: Charlie Campbell; Corry, Pa.; 1993 Miata
Prototype 1: Bryan Putt; Venetia, Pa.; Elan DP02 Mazda
Spec Miata: Nick Leverone; Mendon, Mass.; 1994 Miata
Super Touring Lite: Craig McHaffie; Walpole, Mass.; MX-5