MX-5 Cup Shootout Nominees Announced
 October 4, 2021| 
  • Series News

October 4, 2021 – Mazda Motorsports has unveiled the list of drivers nominated for the 2021 Mazda MX-5 Cup Shootout.

The Shootout, planned for October 20 - 21 at Sebring International Raceway, in Sebring, Florida, will award the winner a scholarship valued at $110,000 to compete in the 2022 Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich® Tires. In addition, Mazda offers two additional scholarships each worth $75,000. At least one of the three recipients will be a woman to further help attract and retain women in motorsports.

Winning a club racing championship while driving a Mazda or Mazda-powered car is the primary way to be nominated for the Shootout, while other deserving drivers may be selected as at-large nominees. To win an automatic nomination, one must win a national championship at the SCCA Runoffs or at the NASA Championships, a regional championship within NASA’s Teen Mazda Challenge, or a conference championship in SCCA’s First Gear Mazda Challenge. Automatic and at-large nominees will be invited to submit a video proposal focused on their off-track efforts from which the finalists will be selected for the two-day Shootout.

This year’s MX-5 Cup judges include: pro racers and coaches Tom Long and Andrew Carbonell, BFG’s motorsport marketing manager Peter Calhoun, Mazda Motorsports’ program manager Jonathan Applegate, and Mazda Motorsports’ business development manager David Cook.

According to Cook, “The MX-5 Cup Shootout judges will select racers that have the ability and work ethic to create a sustainable, professional racing career. This takes more than just having talent behind the wheel, though that is a significant contributing factor for career racing success. Being able to secure the funding year-after-year is the key, which typically requires long-term development of the off-track skills such as networking, relationship building, business-to-business deal making, communication and more, as well as having strong personal attributes. In addition to being willing and able to put the work in to sustain a pro racing career, we seek drivers that we are confident would represent our brand and our partners professionally.”

Many of the past scholarship recipients have proven to be successful at the professional level. In the current MX-5 Cup standings, with one event remaining, MX-5 Cup Shootout winners Selin Rollan (2017), Michael Carter (2018), Jared Thomas (2019), Chris Nunes and Aaron Jeansonne (2020) are each in the top 10. Carter and Rollan, sitting second and third respectfully, are vying for the championship and its $250,000 prize. Nunes is competing for the $85,000 that goes to the Rookie of the Year and Jeansonne is coming off a podium finish at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

This year’s automatic nominees:

  1. Preston Pardus* – Spec Miata, SCCA Runoffs, NASA Championships and First Gear Mazda Challenge Southeast Champion
  2. Danny Steyn – STL, SCCA Runoffs national champion
  3. Vaughn Glace, FX, SCCA Runoffs national champion
  4. Sterling Hamilton, FM, SCCA Runoffs national champion
  5. Scott Rettich, FE2, SCCA Runoffs national champion
  6. Mark Abouzeid - NP01 NASA champion
  7. Roy Fulmer - Spec Miata, NASA Teen Mazda Challenge Northern California champion
  8. AJ Zarcone - Spec Miata, NASA Teen Mazda Challenge Southern California champion
  9. Andrew Balgoyen - Spec Miata, NASA Teen Mazda Challenge Mid-Atlantic champion
  10. Travis Wiley – Spec Miata, SCCA First Gear Mazda Challenge Southern Conference champion
  11. Tyler Ladd – Spec Miata, SCCA First Gear Mazda Challenge Mid-States Conference champion
  12. Matthew Morin – Spec Miata, SCCA First Gear Mazda Challenge Northeast Conference champion
  13. Brandon Collins – Spec Miata, SCCA First Gear Mazda Challenge Northern Conference champion

At-large nominees:

  1. Aidan Fassnacht – Spec MX-5 Challenge
  2. Alex Berg - Spec MX-5 Challenge & Spec Miata / Teen Mazda Challenge
  3. Brennan Stammer - Spec Miata / Teen Mazda Challenge
  4. Bruno Carneiro – Spec MX-5 Challenge
  5. Bryce Cornet – Spec MX-5 Challenge
  6. Bryson Morris – Spec MX-5 Challenge / Teen Mazda Challenge
  7. Clayton Ketcher – Spec Miata, Teen Mazda Challenge
  8. Connor Zilisch – Spec MX-5 Challenge & Spec Miata
  9. Courtney Crone** – IMSA Prototype Challenge
  10. Grant West – Spec MX-5 Challenge
  11. Harry Voigt – Spec Miata / Teen Mazda Challenge
  12. Jillian Fichter – Spec Miata
  13. Joey Atanasio – Spec MX-5 Challenge
  14. Laura Hayes - WRL
  15. Michael Borden – Spec MX-5 Challenge
  16. Michele Abate** – SCCA, WRL & Trans Am
  17. Sydney McKee – Spec Miata & IMSA Lamborghini Super Trofeo
  18. Wyatt Couch – Spec MX-5 Challenge / Teen Mazda Challenge

*Due to significant professional experience, Preston Pardus (SCCA Spec Miata National Champion) and Liam Snyder are not eligible for the Shootout

**Due to significant professional experience, Courtney Crone and Michele Abate are not eligible for the $110,000-valued scholarship, but they are eligible for the Women in Motorsports scholarship. Note: Sydney McKee and Jillian Fichter are eligible for any of the three scholarships.

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