MX-5 Cup Shootout Nominees Announced – Update: Automatic Nominees Added

Update October 4, 2022: Automatic nominee list has been added.

August 11, 2022 – Mazda Motorsports has unveiled the list of at-large drivers nominated for the 2022 MX-5 Cup Shootout. Automatic nominations will be determined by the conclusion of the SCCA Runoffs October 2, 2022.

2022 marks the 17th year of the the MX-5 Cup Shootout, which will run alongside the Spec MX-5 Shootout. At the conclusion of the MX-5 Cup Shootout, Mazda will award three scholarships: The top prize winner earns a $110,000 scholarship to compete in the 2023 Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich® Tires series with two additional scholarship recipients each earning $75,000. At least one of the three recipients will be a woman to further help attract and retain women in motorsports.

Winning a club racing championship while driving a Mazda or Mazda-powered car is the one way to be nominated for the Shootout, while other deserving drivers may be selected as at-large nominees. To win an automatic nomination, one must win a national championship at the SCCA Runoffs or at the NASA Championships, a regional championship within NASA’s Teen Mazda Challenge, or a conference championship in SCCA’s First Gear Mazda Challenge. (There are additional requirements such as winning in a Mazda.) Automatic and at-large nominees will be invited to submit a video proposal focused on their off-track efforts from which the finalists will be selected for the two-day Shootout.

This year’s MX-5 Cup judges will be: Pro racers and coaches Tom Long and Andrew Carbonell; BFG’s motorsport marketing manager Peter Calhoun; Mazda Motorsports’ program manager Jonathan Applegate.

According to Applegate, “The MX-5 Cup Shootout judges will select racers that have the ability and work ethic to create a sustainable, professional racing career. This takes more than just having talent behind the wheel, though that is a significant contributing factor for career racing success. Being able to secure the funding year-after-year is the key, which typically requires long-term development of the off-track skills such as networking, relationship building, business-to-business deal making, communication and more, as well as having strong personal attributes. In addition to being willing and able to put the work in to sustain a pro racing career, we seek drivers that we are confident would professionally represent our brand and our partners.”

9 of the top 15 racers in the current MX-5 Cup point standings have earned Mazda scholarships. With two events remaining, 2019 MX-5 Cup Shootout winner Jared Thomas leads overall, with current scholarship winner Connor Zilisch (pictured above, center stage) third; 2017 winner Selin Rollan fourth; 2009 winner Justin Piscitell sits 7th; 2020 winners Chris Nunes and Aaron Jeansonne sit 8th and 9th, respectively; 2015 winner Glenn McGee 12th; 2018 winner Michael Carter 14th (and former MX-5 Cup champion); current scholarship winner Bryce Cornet (pictured above, left) rounds out the top 15.

Reigning MX-5 Cup champion Gresham Wagner, sitting second in the point standings, strives to be the only repeat MX-5 Cup champion in series history, looking to take home another $250,000 grand prize.

Connor Zilisch is on the rise after sweeping the top step of the podium in the last event at Road America, which vaulted him to the top ranked rookie, which offers an $85,000 prize at the end of the season.

For more information, go to

This year’s automatic nominees:

  1. Nick Bruni* – Spec Miata, SCCA Runoffs
  2. Owen Mcallstar, NP01, NASA national champion
  3. Baliey Monette – FE2 SCCA champion
  4. Chip Romer – P1 SCCA Runoffs national champion
  5. Nathan Nicholson – Spec Miata, NASA Teen Mazda Challenge Great Lakes Region
  6. Wyatt Couch – Spec Miata, NASA Teen Mazda Challenge Northern California Region
  7. Cooper Hicks – Spec Miata, NASA Teen Mazda Challenge Southern California Region
  8. Charles Mactutus – Spec Miata, SCCA First Gear Mazda Challenge Southern Conference champion
  9. Grayson Farischon – Spec Miata, SCCA First Gear Mazda Challenge Mid-States Conference champion
  10. Tyler Brown – Spec Miata, SCCA First Gear Mazda Challenge Northeast Conference champion
  11. Camden Gruber – Spec Miata, SCCA First Gear Mazda Challenge Northern Conference champion

At-large nominees:

  1. AJ Zarcone – Spec MX-5 Challenge / NASA Teen Mazda Challenge
  2. Alex Berg – Spec MX-5 Challenge & Spec Miata / NASA Teen Mazda Challenge
  3. Alex Bertagnoli – Spec MX-5 Challenge
  4. Alexander Searle – Spec MX-5 Challenge
  5. Austin Varco – Spec Miata
  6. Brennan Stammer – Spec Miata / NASA Teen Mazda Challenge
  7. Camden Gruber – Spec Miata / Spec MX-5 Challenge
  8. Clayton Ketcher – Spec Miata / NASA Teen Mazda Challenge
  9. Courtney Crone* – IMSA Prototype Challenge
  10. Grant West – Spec MX-5 Challenge
  11. Jillian Fichter – Spec Miata
  12. Hanna Zellers* – Prototype Challenge
  13. Heather Hadley – Legends
  14. JJ Hansen – Spec MX-5 Challenge
  15. Laurin Brallier – Spec Miata
  16. Mark Polunin – Spec Miata / NASA Teen Mazda Challenge
  17. Michael Borden – Spec MX-5 Challenge
  18. Michele Abbate* – SCCA, WRL & Trans Am
  19. Mickey Thomas – Spec MX-5
  20. Mirabella Alfaro – Spec Miata
  21. Nate Cicero – Spec MX-5 Challenge
  22. Nathan Nicholson – Spec Miata NASA Teen Mazda Challenge
  23. Nathan Saxon – Spec MX-5 Challenge
  24. Nicholas Leone – Spec MX-5 Challenge
  25. Nico Bratz – Spec Miata
  26. Owen McAllister – FE2
  27. Raiden Nicol – Spec Miata NASA Teen Mazda Challenge
  28. Rowan Gill – Spec MX-5 Challenge / Spec Miata
  29. Sheena Monk* – GT4
  30. Sterling Hamilton, FM, SCCA Runoffs national champion
  31. Sydney McKee – Spec Miata & IMSA Lamborghini Super Trofeo
  32. Tegan Hammond – Spec MX-5
  33. Thomas Annunziata – Spec MX-5 Challenge
  34. Uthman Alaoui – Spec Miata / NASA Teen Mazda Challenge
  35. Westin Workman – Spec MX-5 Challenge / NASA Teen Mazda Challenge
  36. William D’Elia – Spec Miata / NASA Teen Mazda Challenge
  37. Wyatt Couch – Spec MX-5 Challenge / Spec Miata

*Due to significant professional sports car experience, Courtney Crone, and Michele Abbate are not eligible for the $110,000-valued scholarship, but they are eligible for the Women in Motorsports scholarship.

*Due to significant professional experience, Nick Bruni & Aaron Jeansonne (SCCA & NASA Spec Miata National Champion) are not eligible for the Shootout