46 OCTOBER 2020 scca.comTECHNICAL
PRESTON PARDUS: SPEC MIATACHAMP AND NASCAR DRIVER
At the 2020 June Sprints,Preston Pardus won in SpecMiata on Saturday and tooksecond on Sunday, all the whilehooked up with Jim Drago. “Anytime you can run with Jim, youare having a good day,” he says.
Preston had a very good day atthe 2017 Runoffs, too, wherehe took the gold at Indy, bestingan astounding 86 competitors.
At the 2019 Runoffs at VIR, hesnagged the silver medal. Makinga big step up with a pick-up teamput together by his dad, Dan, aformer NASCAR racer, Prestoncompeted in two NASCAR XfinitySeries road course races in
2020 finishing 10th at Indy andeighth at Road America, wherehe started 37th in a no practice,no qualifying format, and evenled toward the end of the race.
Preston is fast at every track – butespecially Road America.
Issues for first time RoadAmerica visitors: “One of thebiggest issues for me when I waslearning Road America was to besure to maximize my corner exitspeeds. In Spec Miata, cornerexit speed is everything and itwill determine how much groundwill be lost or gained downthe straights. Because RoadAmerica’s straights are someof the longest in SCCA RoadRacing, you need to make sureyou can back up your cornersenough to set up an ideal exit forevery corner. This is particularlytrue for Turns 3, 10, and 14.”
The longest week: “It is sucha long event; you don’t want touse up your equipment earlyin the game. You really want tomake sure that when it’s raceday, your car is in good shapeand not worn out from the manypractice and qualifying sessions.”
Hardest parts of the track:“The big challenge for ourclass is to pull off a clean pass.
Although in Spec Miata it’seasy to initiate a draft passdown the straight, if you’reunable to complete the pass,you will be in jeopardy ofgetting left out of line andmultiple cars will pass you.
“The way the track is laidout, every other corner isa switchback, which meansthat you will be in the lessideal line if you are not singlefile going into a corner.
“Without a doubt, youare going to want a greathandling car through Turns
3 and 14 to propel you ontothe long straights. You alsowant a great car throughthe Carousel because thecomfort factor is low evenon a good handling car.”
Best way to learn the track:
“Run laps on iRacing. It’s a
great tool to use because each
circuit is laser scanned and is
recreated virtually to perfection.
I would also highly recommend
watching recent SCCA races
from the past few years.”
Importance of the draft:
“Drafting will be everything in
the Spec Miata race – there will
not be a single car breaking
away. It all depends on how the
race plays out, but with how
the draft works there, it can
either be a two-car breakaway
or a 10-car pack race. It has
gone either way for every Spec
Miata race at Road America.”
Danger areas: “Trying to go
side-by-side through the kink.”
PACK LEADERIn just four Runof fsappearances, Preston Pardus(LEFT and BELOW) has scoredt wo Spec Miata podium finishes,which includes the NationalChampionship title in 2017.