A Look at the 2023 Mazda MX-5 Cup Shootout Finalists: Part 2
 November 13, 2023| 
  • Series News

The 2023 Mazda MX-5 Cup Shootout will see 12 aspiring racers vie for a scholarship valued at $110,000 from Mazda to compete in the 2024 MX-5 Cup season. Every racer has their own story and their own path, and what follows is a brief introduction to six of those candidates as the November 15 – 17 event at Carolina Motorsports Park (CMP) rapidly approaches.

Click here for Part 1 


Alex Bertagnoli
(Chicago, IL)

The latest Spec MX-5 Challenge Champion earned his crown on the strength of 11 podiums in 14 races, plus two runner-up finishes in the season finale at VIRginia Internatioinal Raceway. One of his most spectacular drives of the season came at CMP where he started from the pitlane, but made his way to a runner-up finish in the rain.


“We were at a point where we weren’t sure or know where to put funding into moving up into a race car. That’s where Mazda sort of saved me in a way because they helped me develop a plan and give me a springboard to the MX-5 Cup series. I’ve developed a good vision of where I want to go in my career in terms of sports cars.”


Chase Jones
(Indianapolis, Indiana)

Coming into the Shootout, 26 year-old Chase Jones has a good handle on what to expect, since he was one of the winners of the 2022 Spec MX-5 scholarships. With a massive list of karting awards and a business degree from the Kelley School of Business at IUPUI, Jones is perfectly suited to his role as a karting team co-owner. This experience gives him a unique viewpoint on racing.


“Running a kart team has really opened my eyes to what it takes and how much coordination you need to have. It’s also given me a lot of insight on how to be with personal relationships between businesses and customer relations as well.”


Nathan Saxon
(South Kingston, RI)

Nathan Saxon is a return MX-5 Cup Shootout finalist, which could give him an edge on the competition, so could his expanding experience as a driver coach in both Spec Miata and Spec MX-5 Challenge. He scored multiple Spec MX-5 Challenge podiums this season, including two wins.


“Last year I learned the format and where I needed to improve on and off track and I think this year I’m coming back stronger and it gives me a little bit of an advantage.”


Taylor Ferns
(Detroit, MI)

The MX-5 Cup Shootout doesn’t strictly pull from Spec Miata or Spec MX-5; in the case of Taylor Fern, the Shootout has attracted the highest finishing female in USAC history. The law student has very little experience on road courses, but is ready to diversify her racing resume and show everyone her car control skills.


“I’m excited for the opportunity and to have a platform to showcase my skills in a different race car among a different talent group. I have high beliefs in my abilities and hopefully I’ll be able to showcase that at the shootout.”


Wyatt Couch
(Sacramento, CA)

Another returning finalist is Wyatt Couch. The 22-year-old is coming off of an exceptional season, winning all but one Spec MX-5 race he entered. As a cost-saving measure, he opted not to trek across the country to attend the season finale at VIR however.


“It’s been a good year for me. Last year I started my own Spec Miata and Spec MX-5 team. It’s been cool trying to build it up and trying to grow Spec MX-5 and Spec Miata out here on the West Coast. Doing all that helps me learn the cars better.”


Sally Mott
(Victoria, Texas)

This 18-year-old recently traded in her NA Spec Miata for an NB with the hopes of upping her Spec Miata game, but before she could even drive it, she hopped in a MX-5 Cup car for the final two races of the season at Road Atlanta. That experience just might be what makes the difference for her in the Shootout.


“I think my biggest challenge is going to be adapting to the track quickly and learning how to make the car go fast there. I’ve never been to that track and I’ve only driven it on the simulator.

I feel like that track is slower and you need a lot of patience to be fast there. I think if I study video and work hard at data and everything I should be okay.”

  • 24-BSI-Sebring
    • Team News
  • 24-MX5-SEB-Race2
    • Series News
  • 24-MX5-SEB-Race1
    • Series News
  • 24-MX5-Qual
    • Series News
  • 24-SEB-Preview
    • Series News