This Week in Mazda Motorsports

A big weekend for club racers with three SCCA Majors, two endurance series and NASA

Most of the pro Mazda racers had the weekend off, but it was astoundingly busy for club racers and autocrossers, with more than 50 wins in Mazdas across the country. SCCA’s Solo Championship Tour was in action in Packwood, Wash.; there was a trio of SCCA U.S. Majors Tour events; NASA raced at Lime Rock Park; and two endurance series were burning up tracks in Indy, Georgia and Minnesota.

Packwood Tire Rack SCCA Champ Tour
The first of two consecutive national autocross events in Packwood, Wash., the Championship Tour attracted a healthy number of entrants to the Hampton Mills Old Lumber Yard. Miatas swept the top of the C Street classes, with Maurice Velandia leading the charge in C Street in his 2016 MX-5. Jean Clayton was the only entrant in CSL, bringing home the win in her 2006 MX-5. ND Miatas also swept the Street Touring Roadster classes, with 2016s taking both victories. Austin Clark came from Boise, Idaho, to compete, and ended up besting Mark Ayers by less than half a second over the two courses. Lynn Ayers won STRL.

Other Mazda class winners include Eric Stoltz in a 1992 Miata squeaking out a victory in Street Touring Sport by only 0.155sec. Steve O’Blenes came up from Southern California to win D Street Prepared in an RX-8, beating Jodi Fordahl in the same car. Bob Bundy led a podium sweep of Miatas in Super Street Modified, and Ron Bauer took the D Prepared victory.

SCCA Majors
It was a big weekend for SCCA racers as they attempt to qualify for the Runoffs and gather Conference points as the season winds down. The U.S. Majors Tour had events at Road America, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park and Heartland Park Topeka.

At Thompson for the New England Region event, only Jonathan Goring scored a double win among Mazda racers, claiming the Spec Miata victory both days. RX-8 drivers won Touring 4 both days, with Raymond Blethen winning on Saturday and Brian Reilly taking victory on Sunday. James Ashe took GT3 in an RX-7 on Saturday, and Whitfield Gregg left with the Super Touring Under win in his Miata.

Although often overshadowed by the June Sprints, Milwaukee Region’s CAT Nationals is usually one of the biggest SCCA Majors races in the country, and this year the event attracted large, quality fields, making weekend sweeps tough. Still, Super Touring Lite’s David Palfenier (Miata), Touring 4’s James Ebben (MX-5), and Matthew Cutter in Formula Enterprises all managed to do so. Perhaps even more impressive is Voytek Burdzy winning Spec Miata both days over Tyler Brown with slim margins of victory; Saturday’s margin was a scant 0.08sec.

Other winners include Miata drivers Michael Sturm and David Bednarz splitting wins in F Production; Dean Oppermann and Rhett Barkau swapping victories in FE2; Rob Warkocki (RX-7) winning on Sunday in GT-3; and Darryl Shoff taking the P1 win on Sunday (Elan DP02-Mazda).

Meanwhile, the Heartland Summer Fest U.S. Majors Tour on Heartland Park’s 2.2-mile configuration was all about weekend sweeps, with the exception of Miata racer Jake Anton and Brian Laughlin reversing their winning order in Super Touring Lite from Saturday to Sunday (with Anton taking the win on Sunday), and Steve Smyczek winning E Production in an RX-8 on Saturday. The double winners were Randy Wagner in F Production (Miata); Christopher Riley Salyer (Mazda2) in B-Spec with a new track record; Chris Edens in Touring 1 (Mazdaspeed Miata); James Wood in Touring 4 (RX-8); and John Harms beating Joshua Holsworth to the line both days in Spec Miata.

Late results from last week’s Freedom Sprints at High Plains Raceway Show Jonathan Goodale sweeping GT-Lite in his MX-5; Bill Hingston doubling up in F Production in a Miata, as did Jim Stinehelfer in STL; and Peter Atwater and Ryan McLaughlin claiming a pair of wins in Spec Miata and Formula Mazda, respectively. Guy Ruse took the Saturday E Production win in his RX-7. 

Both ChampCar Endurance Series and World Racing League, with a pair of events, were racing this past weekend, and Miatas ruled the day in at least one class at every race. At the ChampCar Indy Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the No. 327 BSI Racing Miata took the Class A win in the Sunday 10-hour race. 

In WRL, Miatas swept GP3 and GP4 in races at Road Atlanta and Brainerd. At the Peachtree Grand Prix, the No. 29 NRG Racing Miata clinched victories in both Saturday’s nine-hour race and Sunday’s seven-hour contest. The No. 863 Possien-Hall Motorsports Development MX-5 won GP3 on Saturday, while the No. 325 The Winning Formula Miata did so in the seven-hour. The No. 20 Slipstream Racing MX-5 won GP2 on Sunday.

At the Comp du Lacs pair of nine-hour races at Brainerd International Raceway, the No. 95 Gensoku Miata swept GP4, while the No. 133 Burnt Ends Endurance Racing Miata and No. 57 Transcendental Racing Miata teams swapped victory in GP3.

Benjamin Miller won both Spec Miata races in the NASA Northeastern contest at Lime Rock Park. The prior week, two Mazda competitors won at the Tire Rack SCCA Time Trials National Tour at Thompson Speedway. Marek Krawczyk took the T1 victory. In T5, Andrew Grigg started out slower than Jason Myers (both in Miatas) in the first session, but picked up the pace to be quickest in the second and third to take the win.