RACE: National Runoffs: Mazda Motorsports preview

ZOOM-ZOOM IN THE HEARTLAND (PARK) The SCCA Runoffs Features Over 500 Racers In 25 Classes but The Biggest Prize is Only Open to Those with Mazda Power October 9, 2008 (Topeka, Kansas). As everyone in racing knows, on any given ...

ZOOM-ZOOM IN THE HEARTLAND (PARK)
The SCCA Runoffs Features Over 500 Racers In 25 Classes but The Biggest Prize is Only Open to Those with Mazda Power

October 9, 2008 (Topeka, Kansas). As everyone in racing knows, on any given weekend, there are more Mazdas on the road-race tracks of America than any other brand of vehicle. Nowhere will that be more apparent than this weekend at Heartland Park Topeka, when over 100 Mazda racers will compete in over a dozen classes at the annual SCCA National Championship Runoffs.

Spec Miata has become the biggest single make spec class in the world, and it is not uncommon to find fields of 50+ cars in a race. Formula Mazda is the other Mazda exclusive class for rotary powered open wheel racers. For those who prefer racing against open fields of Porsches, Chevrolets, Toyotas, Hondas, and the others, the Mazda brand can be found in multiple showroom stock and production modified classes. The two most popular models are of course the MX-5 Miata, and the legendary RX-7.

Mazda believes in pay for performance and will be paying contingency in the amounts of $5000, $2500, and $1250 for first, second, and third place finishes. In 2007, Mazda paid out over $40,000 in contingency, including five national champions:

*   Robert Huffmaster            Rochester Hills, Mich.    Touring
3                      Mazda RX-8
*   Thomas Thrash Jr.            Houston, Texas             E
Production                 Mazda RX-7
*   Jesse Prather                   Topeka, Kansas            F
Production                 Mazda MX-5 Miata
*   Brad Rampelberg             San Jose, Calif.            Spec
Miata                   Mazda MX-5 Miata
*   Jim Goughary Jr.              Jupiter, Fla.                   Formula
Mazda             Formula Mazda

Club Racer to Professional

In 2006 Mazda inaugurated a program to help launch a club racer into the professional ranks. All SCCA national champions who raced a Mazda, a Mazda powered formula car, or Mazda powered sports racer were eligible to compete in a shootout with the prize being a brand new MX-5 and the parts to build a MX-5 Cup car. In round numbers this is a $50,000 prize, greater than any other offered in club racing today.

In the first two years, the program has been a great success:

* In 2006 Andrew Caddell won the SCCA Runoffs in Spec Miata. Thanks to Mazda, Andrew went on to race in the 2007 MX-5 Cup, winning two races, finishing as runner-up for the championship. In 2008 he won the inaugural Ford Racing Mustang Challenge for the Miller Cup as his career continues to advance.

* In 2007 Brad Rampelberg won the SCCA Runoffs in Spec Miata and he is currently chasing the 2008 Playboy MX-5 Cup having scored a win in only his third-ever pro race, and followed it up with a second win at the Miller Motorsports Park. Brad is currently sixth in points with one race to go.

-credit: mazda

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Series SCCA
Drivers Jesse Prather , Jim Goughary , Brad Rampelberg , Andrew Caddell