Mazda dominates 2010 SCCA Runoffs, NASA National Championships

The club racers with the National Auto Sport Association (NASA) staged their fifth annual National Championships from September 16-19 at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah, where Mazda played a prominent role in the proceedings. A day later, the 47th annual Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) National Championship Runoffs took place over September 20-26 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, where still more Mazdas rose to the top.

Any Mazda club racer in SCCA or NASA who wins a national championship, the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Challenge champion, and both of the two NASA Teen Challenge winners are eligible to win a full season in the 2011 SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX- 5 Cup. This prize is valued at $75,000 and is the single largest prize in club racing.

47th SCCA Runoffs Presented by Subway, Road America

The action has been hot and heavy for nearly a half century and the 2010 edition of the SCCA Runoffs Presented by Subway at Road America did not disappoint. Nearly 600 racers turned their wheels in anger battling in 27 different classes. Mazda and MAZDASPEED were out in force, represented by the most competitors of any brand with 153 cars, or a whopping 26 percent of the total starters at Runoffs.

The Spec Miata class set a record for the largest field in SCCA Runoff history, 60, and Mazda competed in more classes than any other brand, 14. Quantity is one thing but Mazda also had the quality angle covered, as the Mazda nameplate proved in its element at the head of the pack as Mazdas scored five race wins and had more podiums, 17, than any other brand.

GT-3, Robert Warkocki, RX-7

The 17th time was the charm for hard-charging Robert Warkocki, of Frankfort Ill., who came home on point in his No. 78 Empcor Goodyear Mazda Redline Mazda RX-7. Runner-up and pole-sitter Mike Henderson, of El Cajon, Calif. made it a 1-2 finish for Mazda.

Henderson looked poised to run away with the Championship until lap eight, when a 2.837-second deficit was wiped out in contact with lapped traffic. Henderson dove to pit lane for his crew to repair a closed exhaust pipe on his No. 12 Mazda RX-7. Luckily an incident a few corners later brought out the yellow, allowing Henderson to line-up at the tail end of the field.

At the green flag on lap 11 of 13, it was anybody's race. Warkocki battled with the No. 3 PFM Engineering Goodyear Moton Nissan 350Z of Jimmy Burke and Michael Cyphert in his No. 76 Toyota Redline Oil Goodyear Toyota Celica, taking the lead under braking at Turn Five. Passing by the start/finish line with one lap to go, Warkocki led Cyphert with Henderson at full-boost 2.095-seconds in arrears. In Turn Five, there was a two-car length gap between each of the three. By Turn 11, the three were nose-to-tail with Henderson challenging Cyphert for second. While Warkocki inched just ahead on a run to the checkers by just 0.451-second and his first National Championship, Henderson and Cyphert ran side-by-side out of Turn 14 just behind him to the finish line.

E Production, Jon Brakke, MX-5 Miata

Jon Brakke, of Fargo, N.D., captured his second-career Pace American E Production National Championship from the pole in his No. 89 Margaret Peterson Bars Mazda Miata, while Aaron Downey, of Rossmoor, Calif. took the third step on the podium in his Mazda RX-3.

This wasn't a wire-to-wire runaway victory, as Brakke fell back to third on the first lap. At the end of Lap 2 he was in the second spot and by the third go-round he was clipping the heels of the race leader when a full-course caution came out.

On the lap-six restart Brakke's menacing looking red roadster got a great run coming up the hill just before the start/finish line to grab the lead and cruised to a 16.432 second win and, in the process, set a new E Production SCCA Runoffs fast lap record with a time of 2:28.758 (96.802 mph).

Spec Miata, Andrew Charbonneau

Andrew Charbonneau, of Delray Beach, Fla., took over the Spec Miata National Championship lead just before the final full-course caution period ended the race. Steve Gorriaran, of Providence, R.I., and Tony Coello, of East Troy, Wis., completed the Spec Miata podium.

Coello led the field into the first turn in his No. 17 Pouredfoundations.com Mazda Miata from the second spot on the grid, slipping to the outside of Gumout polesitter Gorriaran. Gorriaran's No. 44 Gorilla Racing/Driven Performance/Racer Motors Mazda Miata recaptured the lead in Turn Three, and just as the promising battle was taking shape, a multi-car accident brought out a full-course caution.

The field circulated under yellow until the lap-five restart, where Gorriaran pulled away from the pack with Charbonneau and Coello in tow. The three set sail on a breakaway, running side-by-side through several corners.

On lap six, Charbonneau made a pass for the lead into Turn Five in his No. 67 Jacked Up On Mountain Dew Mazda Miata, but gave way to Gorriaran again in Turn 12. On lap seven, Gorriaran again took the lead but ran wide in Turn 5 and fell to third. Then on a three-wide run into Turn 6, Charbonneau took over the top spot on lap nine for the third time. The timing of Charbonneau's pass couldn't have been better, as soon after his pass for the lead the No. 80 Grey Fox Racing/Fall-Line Miata of John Kachadurian hit the wall at Turn 10. The ensuing caution brought the field to the 40-minute time limit attached to each Runoffs race, shortening the race to 10 laps of a scheduled 13.

Formula Mazda, Darryl Wills

Darryl Wills, of Deer Park, Texas, was declared the 2010 Formula Mazda National Champion and Super Sweep winner following Juan Marchand's disqualification.

Marchand started from the back of the field in his No. 1 JRM at Gingerman/Goodyear/ MAZDASPEED Star Formula Mazda after showing up late to the grid, and had to maneuver his open-wheel racer through the full field.

The lead group had separated themselves from the field and was in a four-way battle for the point through the early stages of the race. After a caution Marchand closed onto the rear of that lead battle and wasted no time joining the fight. Marchand crossed the finish line on lap seven in third, and with one lap to go in the shortened race, moved to second.

When Doug Peterson's No.87 Formula Mazda lost power suddenly on the lead on the final lap, Marchand was in the lead and cruised to the checkered flag. Following the post-race technical inspection, it was found that Marchand's car did not have a compliant RPM limiter. His disqualification promoted Wills, who crossed the line second, to the Championship.

Formula Enterprise, Scott Rettich

Scott Rettich, of Camden, Ohio, held off a charging Matthew Mair, of Miami, Fla., to earn the Formula Enterprises National Championship and SCCA Super Sweep. Patrick Gallagher, of Thornville, Ohio, completed the podium at Road America.

Though their finishing order mirrored their starting order, the podium trio had their hands full for the entire 13-lap, 52-mile race. Gumout Polesitter Rettich had a perfect start in his No. 17 Hippi Racing Wine Country Motorsports Formula Enterprises/Mazda and held the lead as the field streamed into Turn One. He would not stay there for long. Second-starting Mair worked the draft on the front straight to slingshot past Rettich and into the lead in Turn One the following lap.

Just as Mair and Rettich began to open a gap on the rest of the pack, a full-course caution was issued on lap four. Mair held his lead in the No. 33 Valvoline Robinson Motorsports Formula Enterprises/Mazda on the lap seven restart, but Rettich only waited until Turn Five to make his move.

"Matthew got a pretty good launch on the restart," Rettich said. "I was in-between gears and he got on the power and he got a little ahead, but I just stayed on the power along the inside of the wall and corrected my position. I was able to come through Turn Three and set myself in a pretty good position. I knew I wanted to make my pass in Turn Five because I should have been able to hold the lead in the Carousel and it should be looking pretty good."

In claiming his first-ever SCCA National Championship, Rettich also won the prestigious SCCA Super Sweep. He won the prize by collecting a Runoffs win, the Central Division FE Championship, the FE National Points Championship and winning not just one, but two key events during the 2010 SCCA Safe Racer National Racing Series.

5th Annual NASA Championships, Miller Motorsports Park

For 2010, the NASA Championships celebrated its fifth birthday and there were plenty of high-revving Mazdas on hand to blow out the candles.

Spec Miata (Group F)

One of two Mazda-specific categories at the NASA Championships, the Spec Miata was one of the biggest draws at the event. A total of 41 cars and drivers vied for victory around the three-mile outer course at Miller Motorsports Park.

Dan McKeever power-shifted his No. 10 Falcon Graphics Reynolds Racing Miata to the checkered flag. Darren Polsley and Tyler Dahl completed the podium.

Pro Formula Mazda (Group K)

The heat was on in Pro Formula Mazda as the first two finishers posted best laps within .043 seconds of each other. This translated into a tenacious battle on the challenging three-mile circuit. In the end Patrick O'Neill edged out Bodee Gray for bragging rights.

Group D PTA

Jeffrey Diffenderfer and his No. 142 MAZDASPEED MX-5 from the Fireball Racing stable beat down a 997 Porsche 911 and BMW 325is to claim the top of the podium in Group D PTA.

Group G TTE

Mazda earned a podium sweep with Miatas ruling the day in the Group G TTE division. The John and Rob Gibson RJ Racing Weekend-Racer.com Miata was the top prizewinner with Jarrett Tamaye and the Speed Trapp Racing Edge Motorworks Miata occupying the second tier. Shawn Sampson and the Sampson Racing Communications Miata completed the rout.

Group G TTF
David Golik and his MAZDASPEED Hoosier Konig backed RX-7 took home top honors in Group G TTF.

Group I TTS

The Team Howard Racing Rotary Shack RX-7 put the spurs to a trio of Corvettes, a Lotus Exige and a Factory Five Racing Type 65R Daytona replica and a total of seven other combatants in Group I TTS.

Group J PTC

A Mazda one-two punch resulted in winner and runner-up finishes for Mazda machines in Group J PTC. Scott Shelton took the win in his MAZDASPEED Hoosier Mothers Manheim-sponsored Mazda RX-8 edging out Dennis Holloway Mothers Hoosier MAZDASPEED Mazzoria Mazda RX-8.

Group J PTD

Mazdas nabbed the top six spots in the eight-car Group J PTD field. Marc Hoover won the day behind the controls of his HOOVERSPEED NRA Hoosier Tires Miata. Patrick Smith and the Voodie Racing Hoosier Hawk Miata came home second while Chuck Koos and the Titan Auto Anaheim Wheel & Tire RX-7 rounded out the top three.