Winning the race at Road America would be a good start. It’d also surely be an emotional win for Doonan, a native of the Chicagoland area a few hours away from Road America who’s been going to that track literally his whole life, although he’s quick to point out that it’s about Mazda, not him.
“The place means the world to me,” Doonan says. “I’ve been going there since I was six weeks old. We tested up there after Detroit and because of the beauty of that place and what (track president) George (Bruggenthies) and his staff have done. I spent some time on the back straightaway kind of relishing in a quiet, beautiful morning when we were testing up there.
“To have our first win there, it’d be great for the program and certainly for me personally. It’s definitely not about me. It’s about Mazda. I do hope it comes soon, and that’s the next one, so we’ll hope it comes there.”
When it does come, it’ll be quite a moment.
“To be candid, I’ve been thinking about it for five years, and it’s going to be a culmination of that,” Doonan says. “Mazda has what we fondly refer to as a ‘Challenger spirit like none other.’ That has been what’s kept us going all this time.
“I told the team this as we started the season, I just want to look in everybody’s eyes and ask them the question of what it feels like, because so many people have worked so hard to get us to this place. Some of them, frankly, aren’t even with the program any more. That gives kudos to our previous partner, SpeedSource, and all their employees, the people at the engine shop in England, all the people at Multimatic and the wind tunnel, there’s just so many people that have laid their hands on this program.
“When that (win) comes, it’s for all of them, but I think most importantly, it’s for our Mazda dealers, our Mazda fans, our current owners, to see the type of mentality that’s here at Mazda and that challenger spirit and the willingness to never accept the status quo and continue to strive. It’s going to be big. I can’t wait for it.”
The Continental Tire Road Race Showcase starts at 2:30 p.m. ET (1:30 p.m. local time) and will be televised live on FS1. It also will be carried live by IMSA Radio on IMSA.com, RadioLeMans.com and SiriusXM Radio (Sirius 119/XM 202/App 972). Tickets are available now at RoadAmerica.com.
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