Mazda drivers show good chances at the SCCA Runoffs in the stock-based classes
Sonoma Raceway is a sinuous, up-and-down track that has drivers working overtime. It’s a highly transitional track with not much in the way of straightaways. All that is generally good news for Mazda drivers, as these cars excel in the twisty bits. And while that’s especially true in the case in each generation of the Miata, the RX-8 should get its due as well.
In Touring 4, two drivers in two different Mazda models are expected to figure heavily at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Sonoma Raceway. Ross Murray has been tearing up the West Coast in his RX-8 and won at Sonoma Raceway in the Sunday feature of the U.S. Majors Tour in June. His RX-8 is fast, and the conditions should be good for the car. The Mazda driver with the best chance to challenge him is Gresham Wagner. Wagner has been very quick in the Southeast driving Ryan Kowaleski’s old NC MX-5, but he’ll be handicapped by not having raced at Sonoma.
One driver to never count out is Don Knowles. His Phoenix Performance-prepared RX-8 is always quick with him at the wheel, and he was at the track in June for a refresher, albeit in a rented MX-5 that wasn’t fully up to the task. Then there are the two drivers bringing Mazda 3s to the party, both West Coasters – Derrick Ambrose and Ali Naimi – that make it three different Mazda models in one race.
A pair of NCs should feature in Super Touring Lite as well. SportsCar magazine picked Danny Steyn to win in STL, and his-ever improving MX-5 is up to the task at Sonoma. So, may be Craig McHaffie’s Flatout-prepared NC. But battling alongside them against the Hondas will be a host of drivers in NA and NB Miatas, including Ken Kannard, Amy Mills, Cameron Wagner, Wilson Powell and Joe Schubert.
Finally, in B-Spec, which will run as a split start with Touring 4 in the last race on Saturday afternoon, Jake Pipal in a Mazda 2 is favored to win, picked by SportsCar to top the podium. Pipal won both Majors races at the track in June. Jim Jordan had a good run in those races as well. Other Mazda racers include Cherie Storms, Robert Rodriguez Jr. and Joseph Gersch.
Touring 4 and B-Spec race together as the last race of the day on Saturday at approximately 4:45 p.m. Super Touring Lite runs on Sunday morning at 11:45 a.m. Look for live streaming of all the races on scca.com.