This Week in Mazda Motorsports

The Hoosier Super Tour season wraps up with a Laguna Seca finale

The final SCCA Hoosier Super Tour event of the season, as well as the final U.S. Majors Tour race weekend in SCCA’s Western Conference, rolled into WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for a packed weekend hosted by San Francisco Region. And there were ample intense battles during the weekend, with many being decided on the final lap.

One race that was decided late in the going was Touring 4 on Saturday. Izzy Sanchez looked well on the way to the T4 win, but with three laps remaining, Sanchez spun and Lance Stewart, driving the No. 10 Mazda/Hoosier/Hawk Mazda RX-8, inherited the lead and the win.

“I pretty much didn’t have anything for Izzy today,” Stewart said following the race. “I was hoping that by the end of the race his tires might go off a little bit and maybe give us a shot. He had some kind of an issue and spun coming out of Turn 9, [and] that gave me the opportunity to get in front – and I only had to stay there for a couple of laps.” Stewart repeated his victory in the longer race on Sunday.

In another tense battle, E Production polesitter Glen McCready and his Mazda MX-5 got beat into Turn 2 on the opening lap by the No. 50 Mazda Motorsports/G-Loc Brakes/Goodyear Tires/Wankelworks Mazda RX-3 of Aaron Downey. Early on, Downey looked strong. But as laps ticked by, McCready looked faster and closed in on the leader. A full-course yellow bunched up the field and made the race that much more interesting, but Downey was able to defend for the win.

“Glen didn’t make it easy on me. It’s a scenario we have gone through many, many times,” Downey said about battling McCready. “I got such a good jump at the start. If I can get ahead of him, I can make it a little difficult to get around me.” Downey had no such luck on Sunday, as McCready took the win.

In addition to Stewart, there were a few other Mazda drivers who managed to pull off a double victory. Jim Mali won both Formula Atlantic contests in a Pro Mazda; Bill Weaver did it in Formula Mazda; Todd Slusher accomplished the feat in Prototype 1 in his Mazda-powered Elan DP02; and Tristan Littlehale continued to exercise his dominance of Spec Miata on the West Coast with two wins. John Yeatman and Brandon Aleckson split victories in Formula Enterprises 2, while Taz Harvey won GT-Lite on Saturday in his MX-5 (while also standing on the podium in GT-3 on Saturday alongside fellow Mazda racer Mike Henderson).

The GT-3 races this weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca were part of the new GT-3 Challenge presented by MPI — a series supported by Mazda, Max Papis Innovations, Penske Racing Shocks, AiM Sports and Hoosier Racing Tire. By winning both races over the weekend, Collin Jackson and his No. 53 Specialty Engineering Nissan 240SX became the GT-3 Challenge representative from the Western Division at the 2019 VIRginia International Raceway SCCA National Championship Runoffs® in October. That is where the four GT-3 Challenge champs – Mazda drivers Rob Warkocki from the Midwest Region, Stacy Wilson from the East Region, and Jeff Dernehl from the Southeast – can face off during the year-end SCCA event for overall GT-3 Challenge championship honors.

Robert Noaker, who last year became the youngest driver to ever win an IndyCar-sanctioned race at Mid-Ohio, backed up his performance with a win during the first race of the weekend in the Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich at that track. Robert Stout laid claim to the second race with a thrilling last-lap pass after finishing second during the first race. That win vaulted Stout up a couple of spots in the standings, now led by Bryan Ortiz, with Selin Rollan second. From Ortiz to fourth-place Drake Kemper, the spread is only seven points with four rounds remaining.

Meanwhile, the ChampCar Endurance Series was at Utah Motorsports Campus for the Salt Lake Eights eight-hour endurance race. In Class A, the MR Miatas team ended up three laps ahead of the Zoom Zoom Kaboom Miata to take the provisional victory.