What a Labor Day weekend! Hotshoes Matt Koskinen and Tyler Kicera took their first shots at the Battery Tender Global MX-5 Cup Series – and proved not only that they belong in the pro series, but that they belong up front!
The races were run in support of the IndyCar series at Watkins Glen, so the entire weekend had a festival atmosphere. Driving a pair of Flatout Motorports-prepped 2017 Mazda MX-5s, both drivers ramped up quickly – even though others in the series were far more familiar with the spec cars.
Matt notched a top ten finish in the morning race, and was on his way to another in the afternoon until debris from a wreck ruined his windshield.
For his part, Kicera ran up front all weekend. He was top three early in the morning race, but an (unjust!) drive-through penalty pushed him back. He made up for it later on, though – Tyler went at it hammer and tongs all race long, and was actually leading on the last lap. He ended up a very close second.
Nick Leverone, Adam Desrosiers, and Dave Goulet crewed, with help from Dan Spangler. A job well done!
We’re incredibly excited about 2018, when Matt and Tyler plan to campaign the entire series.
Let’s close with a great vlog from Kicera, including some of the best in-car footage you’ll ever see:
What are you doing Labor Day Weekend? Why not take in some IndyCar racing, along with Global MX-5 Cup action, at one of the nation’s great race tracks?
Team Flatout will be at Watkins Glen International to support hotshoes Matt Koskinen and Tyler Kicera in a pair of Flatout-developed Mazda MX-5s. And this is just the beginning; we aim to run the full season in 2018.
A couple of nice updates as we continue through a jam-packed summer of racing …
Hotshoe client Amy Mills is a veteran of cutthroat Spec Miata racing. At a recent SCCA Majors weekend at New Jersey Motorsports Park, Amy tried out the STL class for the first time, driving our wicked winged number 37. And the result? Second place, her first Majors podium. Way to go, Amy!
We told you in a recent blog post about Flatout’s strong relationship with Richard Childress Racing. Well, following the recent NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, RCR stud Austin Dillon hung out with our own Andrew Burke (l) and Adam Desrosiers (r), greeting the guys by saying, “Hey, I need to come out and run one of your cars again.” We agree!
Veteran hotshoe and Flatout Arrive and Drive client Stephen Pope, pictured here (center), is still smiling after a dominant weekend at Watkins Glen: 2 poles and 2 wins in the ITA class!
We’ll come back to Stephen, but we have a whole bunch of racing to catch you up on …
June 2-4 we visited New Jersey Motorsports Park’s Lightning circuit, renting Miatas to Nai Nan Ko, Erik Beck, Rick Miller and Seth Mansfield. All four racers ran strong on both Saturday and Sunday.
June 13 found us doing a one-day test at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The idea was to get track time for some Richard Childress Racing Xfinity Series drivers who will race at Mid-Ohio later this season. With Chris Cook instructing, future NASCAR stars Daniel Hemric, Brandon Jones, and Ben Kennedy wrung out our Miatas. Check out the group shot at the end of this post!
That test was on a Tuesday. To indicate how busy the crew’s been, those same four cars were transported, inspected, serviced, transported again, and ready to race June 16-17 at Lime Rock Park. Just ask renters Kurt Schmid, Wendy Cappola, Ray Kobs, and Ryan Duke, all of whom had excellent weekends at the Rock. What a jam-packed event that was: Doug Fisher also raced, as did Linda Lemelin, Stephen Pope, Hugh and Craig McHaffie, the Peter Tonellis (both Senior and Junior!), and Joe Stadelmann (who won everything in sight in his 944!).
Because we’re gluttons for punishment, we also dispatched a crew to Road America that weekend to support our favorite Pacific Northwesterners, Whit Gregg and Amy Mills, at the legendary June Sprints. Naturally, Amy and Whit raced hard and did well!
Next it was on to an SCCA Majors event at Watkins Glen, June 22-25. Hotshoe Eric Thompson brought both his Celica All-Trac Turbo and his Miata—and was rewarded with an STU win in the former and a fourth-place SM finish in the latter. Craig McHaffie earned an incredible come-from behind STL victory on Sunday (check out his in-car vid!), and Hugh got the feel of his new MX-5. Amy and Whit had excellent weekends; Amy qualified sixth both days in the stacked SM class, running at the sharp end of the field from start to finish. Linda Lemelin was with us again, and company president Nick Leverone ran Doug Fisher’s Flatout-built car and grabbed a pair of podiums. The Tonellis drove both their Miata and a new Toyota FRS we’re developing for them (actually, Flatout is building a trio of FRS/BRZs for the family, and we’re excited—these cars are fast!).
Here’s that Craig McHaffie in-car:
After a much-needed weekend off, we trundled to Road America for another test for the Richard Childress Racing guys. Then it was straight to the Glen again for SCCA Regional and Pro-IT racing. As noted, Stephen Pope absolutely tore it up. James McCann was quick, and it was great seeing old pals Keith Hammitte and Anne Lamport Hammitte in their BMWs. Joe Stadelmann put together another strong event, while Leverone ran one of our rental Miatas for another pair of podiums.
You can imagine how much work goes into all this. Huge thanks to Andrew Burke, Evan Consolazio, Adam Desrosiers, Dave Goulet, and Jody Leverone for tireless work at both the shop and the track. Also, help us welcome new guys Kyle Santos and Cory Bentley to Team Flatout—we’ll be telling you more about them soon!
L to R: Flatout’s Andrew Burke, RCR’s Daniel Hemric, Flatout’s Adam Desrosiers, racer and coach Chris Cook, RCR’s Brandon Jones, RCR’s Ben Kennedy, Flatout’s Dave Goulet.
We’ll have full race and event reports for you soon, we promise! But until then, just a few random shots from our past few weeks at Road America, Lime Rock, and the Glen. Everything from a classic podium shot to Adam and Dave trying to catch a mouse in the RV … enjoy!
Boy, have we been busy. What with split weekends at Pocono and New Hampshire Motor Speedway; the never-ending search for power, as demonstrated in this photo; and prep for upcoming races at Road America, Lime Rock and the Glen (three of our favorite places!), it’s hard to squeeze in a blog post – apologies!
Suffice it to say the Flatout Motorsports machine is rolling along, stronger than ever (and indeed with new team members we’ll tell you about soon), helping clients achieve their dreams – whether that means earning an SCCA Competition License at age 80, diving into a national pro series, or tackling the Runoffs at Indy.
Weather aside, we New England racers are a fortunate group, with several new race tracks having recently joined old standbys New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Lime Rock.
Palmer Motorsports Park has quickly become one of our favorites, and the SCCA Regional races held there May 5-7 showed why, with a family atmosphere, much fun, and a bunch of great stories like these:
Keith and Ann Hammitte were excited to be back behind the wheel of their BMWs after taking a year off. The amazing husband-wife team always kick butt and have fun!
Joe Stadelmann, veteran racer and longtime Friend of Flatout, enjoyed running his Porsche 944 with the FOM team. After many years of doing all his own work, Joe is now taking advantage of our Arrive & Drive services. And guess what? Joe swept the podium, winning the ITS races on both Saturday and Sunday.
Doug Fisher, pictured here, laid down killer qualifying times keeping him in the front of the field in both STL and SM. Doug finished in the top 8 in both classes Saturday and Sunday, waging tight battles all over the track.
Company prez Nick Leverone ran our Number 00 rental car on Sunday, starting last and finishing 2nd in both SM2 and SM.
Craig McHaffie set the STL track record on Saturday in his Flatout-built MX-5. He ran away from the field, leaving nobody any chance! Unfortunately, on Sunday he fought a failing gearbox that ended his race early.
John Williamson, 80 years old (!), used to autocross back in the day and decided he wanted to get his competition racing license. John was absolutely thrilled with how much fun he had on track, and consistently dropped seconds off his lap times! Before going out for his first qualifying session, John sliced his finger open. No worries, though: Flatout’s Jody Leverone wrapped it up on grid, and when John emerged after the session, he was all smiles!
Ray Kobs, a first-time renter, enjoyed a fun test day, learning Palmer in the rain on Friday. The practice proved successful, with a great day of racing on Saturday! Like John, Ray kept getting quicker and quicker … and thanks to New England Region SCCA there were lots of cars on the track for everyone to race against!
Big thanks to everyone who crewed: Nick, Jody, Adam Desrosiers, Dave Goulet, and Nick Ustin. The meat of the season is upon us – we’ll barely come up for air until November!
At the Hoosier Super Tour race weekend held April 14-16 at Virginia International Raceway, you could say Flatout Motorsports did okay.
If you were prone to understatement.
Company president Nick Leverone, running STL, and national Spec Miata hotshoe Tyler Kicera, who has teamed up with Flatout, took two podiums apiece in highly competitive fields. Well done, gents! Check out some post-race interviews with the winners: Leverone is here and here, Kicera here and here.
Arrive-and-drive client Amy Mills also put together a fantastic weekend, as did our other clients – in one SM race, Amy notched a top-20 finish after starting 31st!
Here’s some big news – we’ll simply quote from our friends at MazdaSpeed Motorsports. You can find the entire release here.
Flatout Motorsports has been renting cars to customers since 2003, and has expanded into a full-service prep shop. Now, with a customer interested in the Battery Tender Global MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires, the team is looking to its next challenge.
“We have a customer, Matt Koskinen, who’s bought a Global MX-5 Cup car and wants to run a full season in 2018,” explains Nick Leverone, one of Flatout’s principals and a darn good shoe himself. “To facilitate us taking care of his car, we worked out a deal to get a couple of rental cars.”
Koskinen plans to do a few races in 2017 in preparation for a full-season run next year. Spec Miata racer Tyler Kicera, the SCCA U.S. Majors Tour champion for the last two years and the 2016 NASA Eastern States winner, is also planning on running MX-5 Cup in 2018, and will be joining the team as a driver and coach for this season.
The plan is to run the MX-5 Cup races at Indianapolis and Road America, and perhaps Toronto as well. But Flatout doesn’t intend to let the cars sit around, and aims to rent them out for SCCA races in Touring 3.
Leverone, whose partners in Flatout include Andy Bettencourt, Hugh McHaffie, Attilio A. Albani Jr., and Steve Ulfelder, has also been doing well in 2017 racing an NB Mazda Miata in SCCA’s STL class. He split wins with Danny Steyn at Sebring, and the team took wins in both races at NOLA and COTA.
“My teammate Craig McHaffie had his first Majors win at COTA on Sunday,” Leverone says. “We’ve been developing that car [a 2008 Mazda Miata]. We built that car for Grand-Am in 2008, and Hugh and I ran that for a couple of years, [although we] never did a full season. The car kind of sat around. We converted that car to STL and it has been getting quicker and quicker. Now I think it’s one of the dominant cars in the class.”