Season Finale at Mazda Raceway

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We are on the way home from the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. We traveled for four and a half days to get from Atlanta to California, and now we get to do it all over again to get back home!

We arrived at the track on Tuesday, and testing began on Thursday. We were chasing the setup on the car alongside several other MX-5 Cup teams because the temperatures were cool but the track didn’t produce a lot of grip. That was surprising, because usually grip increases as the air temperature cools down. The difference between the new asphalt at Watkins Glen, which had all the grip in the world, and Mazda Raceway’s low grip was significant, so it made for a real setup challenge.

We had qualifying and race one on Friday. I qualified 13th for race one. We totally changed the setup for qualifying, going out on a limb with our final settings, but it worked: we were almost 1.3 seconds faster than we had been in the final test session on Thursday! Not only that, but we achieved those faster times without the draft.

Race one was really good, and I finished tenth. My car still has all of the original parts that were on it when we raced at Mazda Raceway in 2016. That car has worked so hard the past two years, and it really exemplifies the #longlivetheroadster mantra, but it is definitely slower now after all it’s been through. I had to work for that tenth!

After the race, we headed to the SPCA of Monterey County. We met an adorable crew of fluffy puppies who were all named after characters on The Big Bang Theory. In the picture below, I’m holding Penny, and my friend Megan is holding Amy. We had a great visit, and I hope those puppies all find forever homes soon!

On Saturday, I qualified 14th for race two. We climbed up to tenth again, and I was again reminded of why it’s important to have funding to keep your car fresh and updated. Equipment just wears out over time, and our lap times were not as fast as the cars around us. A top ten was a huge win for us because I was driving the wheels off the car to keep that tenth place!

We ended the year on a good note with the awards banquet, which is always a fun evening. Even though we didn’t get the award for it, I feel like we still have the Spirit of Mazda in everything we do with this team, and I hope that next year I’ll have a trophy to prove it!

Now that the season is wrapped up, we are hard at work on our 2018 plans. We’ll be making an announcement soon. In the meantime, we are talking to sponsors and working to get our funding lined up so we can be prepared and competitive when the new season begins.