Local racer dominates the SCCA championship at his home track
Local knowledge was expected to play a big part in the Spec Miata race at the 2018 SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Sonoma Raceway during the Oct. 19-21 weekend. And with semi-local Ken Sutherland from Oregon starting on the pole and Mark Drennan on the outside at his home track, this proved to be the case.
Drennan, of San Jose, Calif., got a great start, moving around polesitter Sutherland before Turn 2. Then wasting no time, Drennan immediately gapped the competition. And piloting the No. 10 TFB Performance/WRR Mazda Miata, Drennan didn’t put a wheel wrong the remainder of the race, cruising to his first Runoffs victory.
“I’m just so happy it finally came true,” an elated Drennan said following the race. “I’ve been waiting a long time for this. This is my track, this is my home. I’m going to win in my house, and that’s exactly what happened.”
Tristan Littlehale, in his No. 8 TC Design Motorsports/Red Line Oil Mazda Miata, started sixth, but took only five laps to work his way into third place. On lap six, he made a strong dive into Turn 11, slipping past Sutherland for second place. Littlehale ran wide into the dirt in Turn 2 on lap seven but managed to hold on to it and not lose any positions. For the remainder of the lap, Sutherland continued to harass him in a nose-to-tail battle, but eventually Littlehale pulled away to a comfortable margin he maintained for the remainder of the race.
“Mark says this is his track, but it’s also my track,” Littlehale said, who had a great race with Drennan at the June U.S. Majors Tour race at Sonoma. “It was really clean racing out there. I was trying to chase after Mark, but had to dial it back because we were struggling with the car a little bit.”
As Drennan and Littlehale slowly gapped the field, as many as six cars behind them battled for third, with the position eventually going to the No. 28 X-Factor Racing/Sunoco/G-Loc/Mazda Miata of Chris Haldeman. After starting fifth and running as high as third, Haldeman found himself back in fifth on the final lap. After a hard push, including a four-car battle to the flag, Haldeman earned himself a spot on the podium.
The Sunoco Hard Charger award went to David Biggar, who started 40th and finished in the 28th position.
Spec Miata Podium
Position, (Start), Driver; Hometown; Car; Laps
1, (2), Mark Drennan; San Jose, Calif.; Mazda Miata; 20
2, (6), Tristan Littlehale; Saratoga, Calif.; Mazda Miata; 20
3, (5), Chris Haldeman; McKinney, Texas; Mazda Miata; 20