It was Bryce Cornet’s day on Sonoma Raceway’s 12-turn, 2.52-mile circuit as he handily took the Formula Mazda win in his No. 65 BryceCornet.com Star Formula Mazda. It is his first Runoffs win in his first appearance at the SCCA National Championship.
“This is a lot of fun,” Cornet offered after the race. “We’ve been working for this all year. I’m just super stoked.”
Cornet, from Norman, Oklahoma, started the race on pole and was challenged for the lead in the first turn by the No. 42 Star Formula Mazda of Mike Anderson and Jarret Voorhies’ No. 15 Mitchell Petroleum Star Formula Mazda. Cornet came out with the lead, but a car that spun at the rear of the field caused a full-course yellow, which brought out the pace car and bunched up everyone again.
On the restart, Cornet almost looked like he was caught sleeping as Anderson moved alongside and applied some pressure. But Cornet held tough, then sailed away to a victory margin of nearly 19 seconds.
Behind Cornet, a four-driver battle developed between Anderson, Voorhies, Melvin Kemper Jr. and Bill Weaver. Voorhies, who started fifth, made a strong move to take third on the opening lap. He filled up Anderson’s rearview mirrors for the first half of the race while Kemper, in fourth, did the same to him. But Anderson ran clean and brought his car home in the runner-up spot, which is his seventh podium in eight Runoffs appearances.
“I knew how fast Bryce has been … and I knew it was going to be critical to get out in front of him,” Anderson said about the race’s start. “But Bryce’s car was hooked up and he got a really good start. Then I got a really good restart, and got most of the way next to him, but he was hooked up and just took off.”
As the race continued, Kemper fell away and left Voorhies unchallenged for the third finishing spot, his second Runoffs podium finish. Because of his strategic move at the start of the race, Voorhies also earned the Sunoco Hard Charger award.
“I’m struggling at this track. It’s a little more aggressive than I tend to drive — at least as the corners go,” Voorhies admitted after the race. “I was trying to catch Mike as hard as I could without making mistakes. I wanted to be on the podium at least if I couldn’t win the race.”
Kemper, driving the No. 1 Mazda/Goodyear Star Formula Mazda, finished fourth, and Weaver, in the No. 67 James G. Parker Insurance Associate Star Formula Mazda, rounded out the top five.
The 55th SCCA National Championship Runoffs crowns Sports Car Club of America’s Road Racing National Champions this year at Sonoma Raceway in California Friday, Oct. 19 through Sunday, Oct 21.
Live, online video coverage of Runoffs races, presented by Mazda, is available throughout the three days of competition at SCCA.com/live. An audio race call, supplied by the Super Tour Radio broadcast team, is also available, as well as live timing and scoring for each National Championship race.
Provisional results for Friday’s Formula Mazda race at the 55th SCCA National Championship Runoffs from Sonoma Raceway, with finish position, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car and laps completed.
1, (1), Bryce Cornet, Norman, OK, Star Formula Mazda, 20.
2, (2), Mike Anderson, Temecula, CA, Star Formula Mazda, 20.
3, (5), Jarret Voorhies, Fort Worth, TX, Star Formula Mazda, 20.
4, (3), Melvin David Kemper Jr, Toledo, WA, Star Formula Mazda, 20.
5, (4), Bill Weaver, Fresno, CA, Star Formula Mazda, 20.
6, (6), Nathan Ratton, Rockwall, TX, Star Formula Mazda, 20.
7, (8), Brad Drew, Trabuco Canyon, CA, Star Formula Mazda, 20.
8, (7), Stew Tabak, Stockton, CA, Star Formula Mazda, 20.
9, (10), Woody Yerxa, Colusa, CA, Star Formula Mazda, 20.
10, (11), Doug Nelson, Willcox, AZ, Star Formula Mazda, 20.
11, (9), Derry O’Donovan, Napa, CA, Star Formula Mazda, 20.
12, (13), James Malone, Willcox, AZ, Star Formula Mazda, 18.
13, (12), Bruce Semler, Bigfork, MT, Star Formula Mazda, 0.
Length of Race: 50 Miles
Overall Time of Race: 36:05.466 (avg. 83.788 mph)
Margin of Victory: 18.840 seconds
Fastest Race Lap: 1:37.909 (92.657 mph)
Lap Leaders: #65 laps 1-2, 4-20; #42 lap 3
Sunoco Hard Charger: #15 Jarret Voorhies