MONTEREY, Calif. (Oct. 11, 2014) – Matt Reynolds, of Boerne, Texas, earned his first SCCA National Championship Saturday, winning E Production at the 2014 SCCA National Championship Runoffs® at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Jim Daniels, of Germantown, Tennessee, and Aaron Downey, of Rossmoor, California, completed a Mazda podium sweep.
One year after having a Championship taken away due to on-track contact, Reynolds’ run was clean and dominant, leading all but one of the 20 laps around the 2.238-mile circuit. The 27-year-old started his No. 71 Reynolds Brother’s Racing/Jesse Prather Motorsports/Vintage Connection Mazda Miata from the Tire Rack Pole Position, but saw second-starting Daniels muscle past and into the lead at Turn Three. Daniels led the first circuit, but then ran wide at Turn Six, allowing Reynolds to slip past.
From there, Reynolds sped away to a 20.276-second victory.
“Last year was last year. That has been our mindset since then,” Reynolds said. “Immediately after we got back from the Runoffs last year, we looked forward to this year. I’m really excited to be here at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. It’s a track that I’ve been to quite a bit. I was excited to come back to race my cars on it and see what they could do. It’s gratifying and it feels great to get it.
“Jim [Daniels] got the lead and we kept racing. He got loose in six, did the gentleman thing and just kind of tucked in behind and let me go. It was a long race. The first couple of laps…they’re important, but they’re not everything.”
Daniels, who was the provisional polesitter with his No. 76 WebLaps.com Mazda Miata after Wednesday’s second of three sessions, matched his career-best finish at the Runoffs of second.
“Our car was vandalized Tuesday night,” Daniels said. “Anything you could turn with your hands was changed overnight. I only had two 20-minute sessions to get everything back right to turn good lap times. We missed the setup, but Matt was spot on.
“At the end of the day, the car got free. It hadn’t been loose all week. You have to hit the setup right in these single-race events and I didn’t. But I had a wonderful week. Thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the event. At [Turn] Six, I hit my marks like I needed to and you have to trust that your car is going to do what you expect it to, but I had a big wiggle. I gathered it up and Matt went to the inside and I let him go. From there, I set a pace and just clicked off laps to get to the finish.”
Downey started fifth in his No. 5 roundpeg.com/Mazdaspeed/Carbotech Mazda RX-3, but moved to the lead battle immediately in the race’s opening laps behind the Miatas.
“I was actually surprised with how good the car was in the beginning,” Downey said. “In fact, after three laps, the car was getting better. But then, for some reason, I lost second gear, so going into those turns, I needed to slow it down more and pop it into first gear. When you do that, you just heat up those rear tires and it just went south from there. My dad kept telling me ‘Bruce [Qvale] is 10, six, four seconds behind you.’ I go ‘how many more laps do we have?’ I think I beat him by a few car lengths at the finish.
“Being on the podium here at Mazda Raceway, with what it means to Mazda and all of us that race Mazdas, is the highlight of my racing career.”
In the closing laps, Bruce Qvale, of Palm Beach, Florida, was gaining on Downey’s stricken machine with his No. 43 Huffaker Engineering Jensen-Healey, but came up 0.604-second short of the podium.
Jon Brakke, of Fargo, North Dakota, completed the top five in his No. 89 Margaret Peterson Bars Mazda Miata.
Reynolds became 2014’s first Super Sweep award winner, for a SafeRacer SCCA Club Racing driver that wins the nation-wide point championship, a U.S. Majors Tour Conference Championship, one of 10 key events in the Majors calendar and the National Championship Runoffs. Reynolds is also qualified to participate in Mazda’s MX-5 Cup shootout, which will award one driver with a scholarship to compete in the 2015 SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires.
Reynolds earned the GoPro Hero Move of the Race for his dominating performance. Michal Karpinski, of Hayward, California, earned the Sunoco Hard Charger Award for advancing from 26th to 17th in his No. 188 Rotary Evolution/Wacky Wankel Race Mazda RX-7.
The 51st SCCA National Championship Runoffs®, The Pinnacle of American Motorsports, will crown Sports Car Club of America’s Club Racing National Champions at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Friday, October 10 through Sunday, October 12.
The live broadcast of all 27 National Championship races is available live at SCCA.com, along with live timing and notes. Each race will be on demand at a later date on SpeedcastTV.com.
MONTEREY, Calif. — Provisional results for Saturday’s SCCA E Production National Championship at the 51st SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, with finish position, starting position in parenthesis, driver, hometown, car and laps complete.
1, (1), Matt Reynolds, Boerne, TX, Mazda Miata, 20.
2, (2), Jim Daniels, Germantown, TN, Mazda Miata, 20.
3, (5), Aaron Downey, Rossmoor, CA, Mazda RX-3, 20.
4, (7), Bruce Qvale, Palm Beach, FL, Jensen-Healey Healey, 20.
5, (6), Jon Brakke, Fargo, ND, Mazda Miata, 20.
6, (4), Josh Carroll, Danville, CA, Mazda RX-7, 20.
7, (8), Roland Kamber, Campbell, CA, Mazda RX-7, 20.
8, (13), Jamie Blust, Castle Rock, CO, Mazda RX-7, 20.
9, (11), Larry Cooper, Sparks, NV, Datsun 240z, 20.
10, (10), Rick Kosdrosky, Granbury, TX, Caterham 7 America, 20.
11, (16), Mike Halbrook, Coppell, TX, Caterham 7 America, 20.
12, (19), Kale Swifts, Surrey, BC, Mazda RX-7, 19.
13, (12), Philip Royle, Winnetka, CA, Mazda RX-7, 19.
14, (14), Joe Kelly, Santa Clarita, CA, Caterham 7 America, 19.
15, (18), Steven Sacks, San Francisco, CA, Mazda RX-7, 19.
16, (17), Scott Graf, Toledo, OR, Nissan 260-Z, 18.
17, (26), Michal Karpinski, Hayward, CA, Mazda RX-7, 18.
18, (25), Brandon Droese, Goleta, CA, Mazda RX-7, 18.
19, (24), James Hagerty, Santa Barbara, CA, Mazda RX-7, 18.
20, (22), Larry Svaton, Alvin, TX, Caterham 7 America, 18.
21, (27), Matthew Insley, Royal Oaks, CA, Pontiac Fiero GT, 17.
22, (9), Anthony Jimerson, Benicia, CA, Mazda RX-7, 10.
23, (20), Phil Mendelovitz, Tarzana, CA, Nissan SRL 311U, 8.
24, (23), Guy Ruse, Boulder, CO, Mazda RX-7, 6.
25, (21), Paul Pineider, Colleyville, TX, Caterham 7 America, 4.
DNS, (3), Jesse Prather, Topeka, KS, Mazda MX-5.
DNS, (15), John Longwell, Fallbrook, CA, BMW 328is.
Overall Time of Race: 33:11.620
Average Race Speed: 80.907 mph
Margin of Victory: 20.276 seconds
Fastest Race Lap: Matt Reynolds, 1:38.105 (82.124 mph)
Sunoco Hard Charger: #188 Michal Karpinski
Lap Leaders: Lap 1 Jim Daniels; laps 2-20 Matt Reynolds