Say what you will about US motorsport, but it does create some of the most entertaining and close racing in the world of motorised sport. But history was made recently when a Spec Miata race ended in a dead heat. 

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Close Calls

On March 16, 2003 Ricky Craven beat Kurt Busch but a scant 0,002 seconds in a Nascar race at Darlington Raceway. Click here to check out the closest Nascar finishes of all time. The closest ever Top Fuel drag race finish was less than 0,000 seconds. Doug Kalitta beat his teammate J.R. Todd in that event. NHRA’s timing equipment declared Kalitta as the winner. You can watch that face-off at this link.

Dead Heat

But none will compare to the Spec Miata race that ended in a dead heat. Spec Miata (or MX-5 as we call them) is an extremely competitive series that boasts fields in excess of 50 cars battling for honours. The last event took place at Virginia International Raceway.

The Spec Miata title race was part of the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) National Championship Runoffs. In essence, the winner of the race would be crowned champion. Preston Pardus and Nicholas Bruni crossed the finish line side-by-side after 64 km of racing. The timing equipment had the margin at 0,003 seconds. However, SCCA rules account for such close finishes as they explained:

But at the Runoffs, when a race comes down to miniscule measurements of time, stewards head to the high-speed camera setup specifically for this purpose — which is exactly what happened. What did the stewards find? An absolute dead heat. So, for the first time in the 60-year history of the SCCA National Championship Runoffs, dual National Champions were crowned, and teammates Pardus and Bruni celebrate together.

Click here to read about the Double Apex MX-5 track car.

In Their Own Words

“It’s really cool because we worked together all week, too,” Pardus said once he heard the decision had been made to crown both him and Bruni as this year’s Spec Miata co-champions. “I don’t think that we’d be in that position so far out in front of everyone if it wasn’t for both of us. The teamwork makes it gratifying, too. It took [Bruni] to get us into that spot.”

“I’m still in shock,” Bruni said. “It’s straight out of a Hollywood movie, in my mind. I couldn’t ask for anything better. Honestly, I’m thrilled to get to share it with Preston — to his point, we worked together all week, and we’ve worked together for a couple years now, and there’s nobody I’d prefer to share the championship with.”

Said regular frontrunner former South African and friend of Double Apex, Danny Steyn: “I am very privileged and fortunate to be able to compete at the front of the Spec Miata Class which is considered to be one of the most competitive classes in all of Club Racing, and is attracting massive amounts of young talented drivers. I again qualified on pole, in my 500th race and I was chasing my 200th win. Sadly, that did not happen. While contending for the lead, I was knocked off the track by others. I was lucky to be able to get back to 4th.”

You can watch the closing moments of the race that ended in a dead heat in the video below. If you rewind a little you can see ex-Joburger Danny Steyn leading the race.


Images from SCCA (Mr. Finish Camera/Jon Krolewicz) and Nick Bruni’s Facebook page.