Mazda drivers earn key starting positions for NASA Championships

Two Mazda drivers claimed pole positions by winning qualifying races

Starting positions for Sunday’s championship races at the Sept. 13-16 NASA Championships presented by Toyo Tires were set with a series of qualifying races on Saturday morning, and two Mazda drivers earned the right to start the title races from pole. 

Calling it the most challenging conditions he’s ever raced in, Jeremy Croiset dominated the Mazda-powered NASA Prototype class qualifying this weekend whether the track was wet or dry. The rain was so intense during Saturday’s qualifying that he was only able to complete six laps on the track with a best lap time of 3:38.910. Contrast that with Friday, where Croiset notched a best lap speed that was a full minute faster.

“The rain started getting heavier and heavier to the point it was almost a race of chicken because the NP01s are so light,” said Croiset, who races in NASA’s SoCal Region. “The tires are so wide that you can’t get enough water evacuation, so you literally had to feel the hydroplane of the car and drive just below that.”

In Performance Touring E, Chris Kopitski saw earning the pole position as an insurance policy after easily winning Saturday’s qualifying race, where he crossed the finish line some 17 seconds ahead of his closest competition. “It’s nice to have the pole, [to] get a good early start just in case something goes wrong,” said Kopitski, who runs in the NASA Central Region. “You never know what happens on the track.”