After breaking her subframe in Friday practice, No. 787 Teen Mazda Challenge driver Sophia Storey came back to take the win on Saturday at Buttonwillow.

For the second event in a row, a Spec Miata race in NASA SoCal was interrupted and delayed by a grass fire off track. That happened Sunday, and we will get to that, but Saturday’s action was nearly as hot.

The weekend began with mechanical malaise for Teen Mazda Challenge driver Sophia Storey. During Friday practice the subframe attachment points for a lower control arm ripped, and her crew chief had to drive more than two hours back to the shop, weld the subframe and drive back the track to reinstall it and realign it in time to get her to grid Saturday.

Whatever the setup, it clearly worked. Storey leaped from her fourth-place starting position and took the lead from Joey Andrews early and never relinquished it the entire race. That left the rest of the field to sort itself out for the rest of the podium.

“We made a pretty big setup change and I was not expecting it to handle like it did going in the first corner, so I ended up off in the dirt,” Storey said. “So I basically started from P5, worked through the traffic within the first two laps, made some pretty clean passes. I think I ended up passing Sam, and I think he tried to out-brake me and ended up off track. But besides that, it was clean racing and then I got out ahead of everyone and just kept my line, kept everything clean and brought it home.”

Starting from second, fellow Teen Mazda Challenge driver and regional championship points leader Andrews had his mirrors full all race long, with TMC drivers Christian Hoagland and Sam Spencer looking to take his spot. He was just quick enough to hold them off and take second place when the checkers flew.

“It was definitely a close one for sure. I started the race P2, got to the lead and then just didn’t have the pace to retain the lead,” Andrews said. “So I said, you know what, let’s think about the long run with the championship. Let’s stay in second. And Christian definitely gave me a good challenge out there. I mean, man lap after lap after lap, he was right on my bumper and just had to make this car as wide as possible and somehow I kept them behind.”

With Sam Spencer on his tail and Spencer Douglass just behind, Hoagland had as much to think about behind him as he did about what was ahead. He was able to get close enough to Andrews to nudge his bumper, but unable to make the pass. Hoagland finished third.

“I gave him a couple kisses. I was trying to get past him. But it was just a bit too hard. Ended up slowing down me and I was having guys come up on me, but the race was perfectly timed I guess,” Hoagland said. “But some new tactics will have to be gained for next race tomorrow. Be able to get around people easier, stuff like that. We’ll see.”

Sunday’s race was interrupted by a fire set in the grass off track early in the race. The fire ended up causing a 20-minute delay, but race control was determined to give them more time to race than a green-white-checkers. The restart had lots of mixed-class traffic and the ensuing action was a bit chaotic.

Andrews was able to capitalize on the chaos and pick up two spots to take second place, then get a run on Hoagland down the back straight to take the lead, which he held till the end.

“So, I got actually a terrible start off the line. I misjudged the green, had to jam on the brakes and downshift,” Andrews said. “Then I got going again. Saw the chaos into Turn 1 where there were five cars wide on a track where you can barely go too wide. And just from there ended up gaining a couple spots at this point, and running P1.”

No. 789 Teen Mazda Challenge driver Joey Andrews capitalized on a chaotic restart on Sunday and took the win at Buttonwillow.

Hoagland ended up losing another spot to Sam Spencer, who finished second.

“I started the restart in first, and then going into the first turn, it was pretty much chaos. I had to get off the throttle and a few of the other Spec Miata drivers who were behind had a, I don’t know if it was a clean line through it, but it was a line through it, so they were able to jump up the side of me, and then it was four wide or something through the Esses, and there was chaos for the rest of the race,” Spencer said. “It was fairly clean for maybe three laps as Joey was in the lead and it was Christian and me. Joey pushed wide going into the entrance to Grapevine and Christian followed him. Luckily, I was able to capitalize on the exit of cotton corners because of Christian’s mistake, and we had some door-to-door kind of tussling through the last, or second to last turn, but it was all good.”

After a few attempts to retake P1, Hoagland acknowledged his error at Cotton Corners and hung on to finish third.

“Yeah, I took a couple of shots for sure, and nothing worked out too well,” he said.  “He was defending pretty well, so I couldn’t quite get around.”

The Spec Miata podium and the Teen Mazda Challenge podiums were one and the same both days.



Image courtesy of

Join the Discussion