Sweeney & Jones Earn Mazda Club Factory Drives in Spec MX-5 Challenge

After two days of driving, several meetings, and multiple sessions spent reviewing data at Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, South Carolina, two karting stars were selected to be Mazda club racing factory drivers.

Both Reid Sweeney & Chase Jones won the coveted 2022 Mazda Motorsports Spec MX-5 Challenge Shootout, each earning a $50,000 scholarship funded by Mazda Motorsports to compete in the 2023 Spec MX-5 Challenge Series Presented by Toyo Tires.

Operating three identical cars, Advanced Autosports tended to the Spec MX-5 cars, with every driver receiving their own set of Toyo Tires for the duration of the event.

The Spec MX-5 judging panel was composed of professional race car drivers Max Papis and Stevan McAleer, former MX-5 Cup scholarship winners Chris Nunes and Connor Zilisch, and Pagid Motorsports Director – Americas Jim Emerson.

Following an extensive evaluation from the Spec MX-5 judges, both Sweeney & Jones were determined to be the racers that best embodied Mazda’s ideals and speed.

Mazda is committed to helping young drivers realize their dreams of racing professionally. That starts by bridging the gap between karting and cars. From a field of nine karters, Reid Sweeney and Chase Jones were chosen to become Mazda club racing factory drivers. They will receive financial support, testing opportunities, a driver coach and motorsports mentor to guide them through the motorsports industry and so much more.

2022 Spec MX-5 racer Nate Cicero of Pound Ridge, New York came away from the 2022 Mazda MX-5 Cup Shootout with the big prize; a scholarship valued at $110,000 to compete in next year’s Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich® Tires, while 2022 Spec MX-5 Champion Thomas Annunziata was deemed to be a close second in the MX-5 Cup competition and received a $75,000 scholarship.

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