This Week in Mazda Motorsports

A big weekend for autocross and another IMSA Daytona Prototype international victory

Independence Day and the days that followed was a big week for autocross, with every SCCA National Solo program in action, including a doubleheader at Bristol Motor Speedway for the Match Tour and Champ Tour.

Of course, it was also another big weekend for Mazda Team Joest in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Although the team didn’t set new records like Oliver Jarvis did at Daytona and Watkins Glen, it was another one-two finish, with the No. 77 Mazda RT24-P of Jarvis and Tristan Nuñez taking the victory over the No. 55 of Harry Tincknell and Jonathan Bomarito. Bomarito put the No. 55 out front early, but a minor problem in a late-race pit stop gave the No. 77 the lead and the win for the team’s second-straight one-two finish.

Tire Rack Bristol Summer Nationals

In a unique doubleheader that included one of only two Match Tour events of the year, autocrossers descended on Bristol Motor Speedway for the Match Tour, which was followed by the Champ Tour. Steven Hughes was the only Mazda driver able to pull off a victory in a multi-car class in both events, winning Street Touring Roadster in his 2016 MX-5. Susan Banks was also a double winner in her STX Ladies RX-8, but unfortunately didn’t have the satisfaction of beating anyone as the lone entrant in the class.

In the Match Tour 11-car C Street class, five drivers piloted the newest model of Miata, the 2019 ND2, and claimed the four trophy positions. Rick Cone set the fastest clean time of the first runs, but Jed Peterson was able to back up his dirty first run to take the morning lead with a 0.724sec margin over Cone. Behind them, Will Teller was just 0.077sec back in third with Mike Cavanaugh holding down the fourth trophy another 0.042sec behind. In the afternoon, after a very minor course change between sessions, Cone set the fastest times of any driver in the session. While Cone was definitively faster, Peterson backed up his morning time to hold onto the lead for a 0.045sec margin of victory. The positions stayed the same while only margins changed with Cone, Teller and Cavanaugh claiming the second- through fourth-place trophies, respectively.

The six-driver Super Street Modified class played host to a battle between Randall Wilcox and Ryan Field in rival 1996 Mazda Miatas. Wilcox won the morning round by 0.45sec, with both leaders standing on their first views of the course. In the afternoon, both drivers were able to improve on their final runs, but this time it was Field taking the fastest time of the session by 0.450sec. The final margin was Wilcox over Field by a mere 0.001sec for the two trophies in the class.

Bristol resident Cory Barr took the E Street win in a 2004 Mazdaspeed Miata, and Rich DiMarco won Street Touring Sport in a 1991 Miata. Sharing a 2002 Miata in C Street Prepared, Brian Wells and Stephanie Humphries swapped positions in the two events. Humphries had faster raw times in the Match Tour but coned every run on the second course to give the victory to Wells. But she came back in the Champ Tour to win the class for that event.

Other Mazda winners in the Champ Tour include Teller in C Street, redeeming his third-place finish from the Match Tour and beating that event’s winner Peterson by more than a second, with Miatas sweeping the trophies. Jason Collett took X Prepared in a 1990 Miata, and Langlee King was the lone entrant in C Street Ladies in her 2019 Miata.

ProSolo was in action in Topeka, Kan, with a lower turnout than usual, perhaps due to the doubleheader in Tennessee. Paul Frey was the only driver to take a class win in a Mazda, winning C Street in the all-ND2 class.