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Expect The Unexpected

In three-days, 17 Spec MX-5 Challenge racers from around the country took to Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta in the hopes of being crowned the 2021 champion. With one qualifying session and two races, teams and drivers alike invoked the culmination of 22 regular season event weekends into minutes of on-track action.

A look at your 2021 Spec MX-5 Challenge champions.

In three-days, 17 Spec MX-5 Challenge racers from around the country took to Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta in the hopes of being crowned the 2021 champion. With one qualifying session and two races, teams and drivers alike invoked the culmination of 22 regular season event weekends into minutes of on-track action.

Countless battles ensued, but in the end it was Matt Fassnacht who took the deserving win, being crowned the Spec MX-5 Challenge champion for the first time.

Joey Atanasion (left) Matt Fassnacht (center), Justin Piscitell (right) Photo: clarkmcinnisphotoraphy.com

Your 2021 Overall Champions

Matt Fassnacht, First Principles Racing1st Place Overall Champion and Masters award

Matt Fassnacht was nothing short of perfection this weekend. Sitting eighth in the championship at the beginning of the week, Fassnacht put the pedal to the metal and raced hard. With a pole position for Race 1, Fassnacht pulled away from his competitors smoothly and efficiently with a seven car lead over nearest racer Charles (Chuck) Mactutus. Sadly his dominance was in jeopardy as a full course yellow bunched up racers for one final lap of green-flag racing. On the restart, Fassnacht showed the young-guys how it was done, battling for the first step on the podium and pulling away to cross the checkered with a healthy lead.

In Race 2, Mactutus on pole seemed like the guy to beat. Mactutus and Fassnacht battled throughout the day consistently passing each other on the straightaway and first corner. In the end, Fassnacht’s car held up as Mactutus fell back. Fassnacht continued to dominate as young-gun Joey Atanasio came in close behind. In the end it was Fassnacht’s race to lose. Fassnacht brought home his second win of the weekend in an exhilarating 20 laps.

Fassnacht’s overall win brings him a $30,000 award from Mazda Motorsports and a $5,000 Masters check.

Fassnacht (red suit on left) and his team at First Principles Racing

Joey Atanasio, Formidable Racing Development2nd Place Overall Champion and Emerging Talent award

Joey Atanasio is positively electric. A former karter, Atanasio came into Spec MX-5 Challenge a year ago and has already established himself as one of the most consistent, energetic and tenacious racers on track. Prior to the weekend at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, Atanasio sat fifth in championship standings and second in his region. Consistency allowed for Atanasio to rocket into a second place championship finish giving him a $20,000 Mazda Motorsports scholarship and a $5,000 Emerging Talent award.

On track, Atanasio showed maturity as he qualified second for Race 1 finishing third, then clean battled from a fifth place qualifying in Race 2 up to the second position on the podium. His team at Formidable Racing Development worked diligently to show competitors that they knew this car and their driver, giving them the best edge they could.

Atanasio (center) and his team

Justin Piscitell, First Principles Racing3rd Place Overall

Last season’s champion, Justin Piscitell continues to prove he is the one to beat. Coming into championship weekend in first with an approximate five point lead over his nearest competitor, Piscitell didn’t let that stop him from racing hard. Although things didn’t go his way in either race with a fourth place finish in both, Piscitell’s consistency throughout the season earned him the third place on the podium and a healthy $10,000 scholarship check.

See Full 2021 Championship Results

Your three championship cars

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