First Three Mazda Champions Crowned at Runoffs

Spec Mazda-powered Formula classes see Bryce Cornet, Flinn Lazier and Mark Snyder on top

Three Mazda-powered spec formula classes ran their championship races at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Sonoma Raceway on Friday, Oct. 19, with intense racing all around. Formula Mazda and a combined race for Formula Enterprises 2 and Formula Enterprises ran in the afternoon, with Bryce Cornet (FM), Flinn Lazier (FE2) and Mark Snyder (FE) provisionally claiming top honors.

Formula Mazda was the first race, and the front of the field stayed clean, but a car spun and was disabled at the rear, bringing out a full-course caution. But as he did at the start, Cornet took off after a brief challenge from Mike Anderson on the restart. 

“I knew how fast Bryce has been … and I knew it was going to be critical to get out in front of him,” Anderson, who held on to finish second, said. “But Bryce’s car was hooked up and he got a really good start. Then I got a really good restart and got most of the way next to him, but he was hooked up and just took off.”

Cornet, from Norman, Okla., eventually built up a 19-second lead at the finish in his Star Formula Mazda. It was his first appearance at the Runoffs.

“This is a lot of fun,” Cornet exclaimed after the race. “We’ve been working for this all year. I’m just super stoked.”

Behind Cornet, a four-driver battle developed between Anderson, Jarret Voorhies, Melvin Kemper Jr. and Bill Weaver. Voorhies, who started fifth, made a strong move to take third on the opening lap. He filled up Anderson’s rearview mirrors for the first half of the race while Kemper, in fourth, did the same to him. Kemper eventually fell away and left Voorhies unchallenged for the third finishing spot. Voorhies also earned the Sunoco Hard Charger.

Flinn Lazier secured a convincing win to become the first SCCA National Champion in the Formula Enterprises 2 (FE2) class, 8.6 seconds ahead of Liam Snyder, the 15-year-old twin brother of FE winner Mark Snyder. Six-time Runoffs Champion Scott Rettich came home in third place.

“We got away early, which helped us, but Liam definitely kept the pressure on,” Lazier said. “By no means was it relaxing at any point.”

During the week, there was a ferocious battle for the Tire Rack Pole Award, which saw Lazier drive his No. 3 Tivoli Lodge/Bell Helmets/Stockit SCCA Mazda FE2 to a narrow margin ahead of Snyder’s No. 28 Snyder Brothers Racing SCCA Mazda FE2. But the race wasn’t nearly as close, with Lazier taking the lead on the start and never looking back.

“We had a great start,” Snyder admits. “I tried to keep some pressure, but he is fast.”

Lazier, a third-generation driver whose father, Buddy, won the 1996 Indy 500 and grandfather, Bob, and uncle, Jacques, also stood on the top step of the Runoffs podium, continues to carry on the family motorsports legacy. But rather than calling upon family obligation for his venture into motorsports, Lazier is quick to point out that racing is fun.

Southlake, Texas, native Mark Snyder led Formula Enterprises flag-to-flag from the Tire Rack pole to take a 16.379-second win in just his second Runoffs appearance. Justin Huffman and John Yeatman joined Snyder on the podium.

Snyder’s No. 29 Snyder Brothers Racing Formula Enterprises/Mazda led from the green flag, picking up even more of a cushion when second-running Lee Rackley spun on lap 14. From there, it was just a matter of staying in the moment to pick up the checkered flag.

“I didn’t think I would be [standing on the top step of the podium] on Tuesday night on the flight here,” Snyder admits. “I had to go to school on Monday and Tuesday, and I looked at qualifying and saw it had gotten faster. We buckled down and kept the car where it was after testing.

“I got some sleep [Thursday night], and have been nervous all day. By mid-race, I heard, ‘Eighteen second gap, just take it easy.’ I came around for the white flag and my last lap was one of my slowest. We crossed the checkered flag and I just heard extremely loud noises in my ears. That felt great.”

While Snyder ran alone, Huffman held off challenger after challenger in his No. 11 Cleverspeck Formula Enterprises/Mazda. Falling to fifth from third at the start, Huffman climbed back into contention and picked off positions one by one. Whether through attrition or passes on track, Huffman locked himself into third and was quicker than Yeatman in the final few laps of the race.

All results are provisional pending post-race technical inspection.

Formula Mazda Provisional Podium
Position, (Start), Driver; Hometown; Car; Laps
1, (1), Bryce Cornet; Norman, Okla.; Star Formula Mazda; 20
2, (2), Mike Anderson; Temecula, Calif.; Star Formula Mazda; 20
3, (5), Jarret Voorhies; Fort Worth, Texas; Star Formula Mazda; 20

Formula Enterprises 2 Provisional Podiu
Position, (Start), Driver; Hometown; Car; Laps
1, (1), Flinn Lazier; Vail, Colo.; SCCA Mazda FE2; 20
2, (2), Liam Snyder; Southlake, Texas; SCCA Mazda FE2; 20
3, (3), Scott Rettich; Columbus, Ohio; SCCA Mazda FE2; 20

Formula Enterprises 2 Provisional Podium
Position, (Start), Driver; Hometown; Car; Laps
1, (1), Mark Snyder; Southlake, Texas; SCCA Mazda FE; 20
2, (3), Justin Huffman; Herndon, Va.; SCCA Mazda FE; 20
3, (7), John Yeatman; Newcastle, Calif.; SCCA Mazda FE; 20