Ben Anderson repeated his PTE Championship from last year in 2015 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

In the Performance Touring E race, Ben Anderson, driving his No. 38 Mazda RX-7, started from the pole, and when the green flag flew, he never looked back. Anderson won the PTE Eastern States Championship in 2014 in the same car and was looking to add a Western States Championship to his résumé and the car’s logbook. And he did just that with a flag-to-flag victory by more than 38 seconds ahead of Tommy Lo, who was driving a Mazda Miata. And rounding out the all-Mazda podium was Gian Bowles in his first-generation Mazda RX-7.

“The weekend was good. We had good pace off the trailer,” said PTE winner Anderson, as he held his first-place Championship cup. “One of the problems for us is we are running a 2,900 pound car on a 205 tire. So, for us it was all about tire management and strategy. Unfortunately, the sun was showing, which we didn’t want today. So, it was really just keeping the rear tires on the car all the way to the end. I’ve got to thank Mazda because Mazda is the manufacturer that supports grassroots racing like nobody else does.”

Lo, who finished second, was just happy to finish the race, “I had great pace and I was catching up to Ben, but I had a mechanical at the end, when two lug nuts mysteriously started loosening themselves, so I wasn’t able to challenge him. I thought I had a broken wheel, or maybe a squirrel stuck in the axle, so I decided to back off and just survive and got second place. I want to thank my sponsors, Rota Wheels, Workshop, ACT Clutch and, of course, NASA for putting together such an awesome event. I also want to thank Mazda for supporting us grassroots racers.”

Fresh from competing at the Mazda Race of NASA Champions, Tommy Lo took second in PTE.
Fresh from competing at the Mazda Race of NASA Champions, Tommy Lo took second in PTE.

Bowles, who finished third in PTE, was ecstatic to be on the final podium spot, “I’m really happy to be here because I had a really hard weekend. I had a lot of problems. The first day a small pebble got into an air jet of the carburetor, so I only had half a motor. The second day we had other problems, steering box went away so I was trying to deal with that. Then during the race —I’m in the oldest car out there, a 1983 Mazda RX-7 — so I was having a hard time keeping up. At the end of the race, I think a bolt fell out of the transmission mount, because the whole engine was tilted over. I’m just really glad to be here. I have to thank Robert Davis from Mazda, though, because as I caught up with PTD cars, he just waved me by.”

NASA SoCal racer Gian Bowles battled mechanical ills all weekend to take third in PTE.
NASA SoCal racer Gian Bowles battled mechanical ills all weekend to take third in PTE.
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Image courtesy of Rob Krider