MARINA DEL REY, CA (Sept. 8, 2004) -- Nineteen competitors did their best Sunday to unseat SCCA soloist Mark Daddio as champion of the Mazda Rev It Up National Finals. But when all was said and done at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Daddio, 38, of ...
MARINA DEL REY, CA (Sept. 8, 2004) -- Nineteen competitors did their best Sunday to unseat SCCA soloist Mark Daddio as champion of the Mazda Rev It Up National Finals. But when all was said and done at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Daddio, 38, of Beacon Falls, Conn., refused to relinquish his title by narrowly beating out another SCCA stalwart in Brian Priebe, 28, of South Bend, Ind., to earn a brand new Mazda6.
Alan McCrispin, 45, of Huntsville, Ala., made it a SCCA podium sweep, finishing just under two seconds behind Priebe.
"I just sold my Neon, so I've got room for a new car in the garage," Daddio said with a grin. "My wife wants the new MAZDA3, but I'm not sure I'm willing to give it up."
Daddio's second Rev It Up win (he won the inaugural event, along with a Mazda3, last year) was not an easy one. In the first elimination heat, only 10 of 20 drivers qualified for the next stage by proving their skill in identically prepared Mazdas. Daddio finished second in that heat, but struggled in the semifinal where only the top three racers moved to the final.
A final driver had a chance to knock the defending champion out of the competition as Daddio looked on. But the attempt fell short, opening the door for Daddio to move on to the finals.
"I was standing there kicking myself in the butt," Daddio said shaking his head. "I was trying too hard on previous laps and left a lot out there on the track.
"Luckily, I got it together when it counted," Daddio continued. "I thrive on pressure and knew I had to get the power down early and be really smooth around the track."
Though it was a hotly contested autocross, many of the drivers lined up and jokingly bowed to Daddio after he won. They also joined together to give him a ceremonial bath, lifting a cooler over the unsuspecting winner's head to unleash a victorious cascade of ice-cold water on him.
In the event overall, SCCA members represented their organization in grand fashion. More than 20,000 hopefuls tested their driving skills in 15 cities across the United States over 15 weeks, with 20 (15 city winners plus five wildcards) advancing to the finals last weekend. Of the finalists, 14 were SCCA members, including 13 of the 15 city winners. At the event, all 10 spots of the semifinal round were occupied by SCCA drivers before the top three went to the final round.
No matter who made it, however, Daddio said he was up to the challenge.
"This is a national championship with more than 20,000 people trying to win," he said. "It seemed like the competition was turned up a notch from last year's final. Everyone here had a chance to win. And the closer the competition, the more I love it."
FINAL (Combination of four fastest laps) 1. Mark Daddio, Beacon Falls, CT 131.963 seconds 2. Brian Priebe, South Bend, IN 132.548 seconds 3. Alan McCrispin, Huntsville, AL 134.214 seconds
SEMIFINAL (Combination of three fastest laps -- Top three advance) 1. Brian Priebe, South Bend, IN 90.414 seconds 2. Alan McCrispin, Huntsville, AL 90.931 seconds 3. Mark Daddio, Beacon Falls, CT 91.032 seconds 4. Mike King, Jacksonville, FL 91.599 seconds 5. Jon Etkins, Austin, TX 91.971 seconds 6. Pat Salerno, Danbury, CT 92.266 seconds 7. Steve Brolliar, Melbourne, FL 92.652 seconds 8. Derek Brauch, Manhattan Beach, CA 92.913 seconds 9. Karter Bollmann, Friendswood, TX 92.926 seconds 10. Ryan Thompson, Duluth, GA 104.211 seconds
FIRST ROUND (Combination of four fastest laps -- Top 10 advance) 1. Brian Priebe, South Bend, IN 122.143 seconds 2. Mark Daddio, Beacon Falls, CT 122.431 seconds 3. Alan McCrispin, Huntsville, AL 123.007 seconds 4. Mike King, Jacksonville, FL 123.097 seconds 5. Steve Brolliar, Melbourne, FL 123.575 seconds 6. Jon Etkins, Austin, TX 124.034 seconds 7. Ryan Thompson, Duluth, GA 124.200 seconds 8. Karter Bollmann, Friendswood, TX 124.292 seconds 9. Derek Brauch, Manhattan Beach, CA 124.484 seconds 10. Pat Salerno, Danbury, CT 124.850 seconds 11. Keith Casey, Somerset, MA 125.038 seconds 12. Terry Baker, Virginia Beach, VA 125.279 seconds 13. David Corsaro, Nutley, NJ 125.295 seconds 14. Dylan Scott, Manhattan Beach, CA 125.447 seconds 15. Sam Williamson, Garden Grove, CA 125.482 seconds 16. Bill Fiske, Chester, NH 126.415 seconds 17. John Ma, Madison, WI 126.497 seconds 18. Joshua Melani, Forest Hill, MD 127.121 seconds 19. Diane Niven, Oviedo, FL 127.854 seconds 20. Steve Hazard, Newburyport, MA 129.774 seconds