One of the countryâ€™s top Spec Miata racers looks toward something even bigger
Tyler Kicera made his MX-5 Cup debut and came into the 2017 SCCA National Championship Runoffs as one of the favorites to walk away with the championship. While he looks back on a year full of successes and disappointments, he hopes that 2017 will be a jumping-off point for a great career.
â€œI was really strong in Spec Miata early in the season,â€ he says. â€œI won races throughout the summer and leading up to the Runoffs. I was really confident going into that MX-5 Cup debut. I guess that really was the highlight of the year â€“ to go out there and be able to run with the current champion, who was dominant all year and to be able to contend for the win at the end.â€
His Runoffs race ended with an electrical problem while he was running up front. In his MX-5 Cup debut at Watkins Glen â€“ the track at which he won the NASA Eastern States Championship in Spec Miata the year before â€“ he finished second in the second race, leading much of the race until he was passed by champ Patrick Gallagher. â€œLeading on that last lap, I think in the back of my mind [that] was where I really wanted to be, but in racing you can never assume anything. You never know where itâ€™s going to go,â€ he says.
He hopes to parlay that solid performance in his first weekend of Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires into a full season next year. His second attempt at the Mazda Road to 24 Shootout, which would have guaranteed that, fell short. But he still hopes to make a 2018 full season with Flatout Motorsports, and is working to help the team fill some seats to join Matt Koskinen and himself.
â€œ[MX-5 Cup] is so different from Spec Miata because the guys at Long Road Racing that build the cars are at every race. They are teching the cars and inspecting everything. Thereâ€™s really no opportunity or room for any kind of cheating or gain from a mechanical standpoint. Thereâ€™s that aspect that I really like because at the end of the day when you win or do well, you know itâ€™s because you drove well, made smart decisions and you earned it,â€ he explains.
Kicera has been involved in motorsports since age 6, racing quarter midgets and karts. And racing is a family affair for the Kiceras. â€œAt the track you will find me, my dad, my grandfather and my best friend,â€ he explains. â€œThe four of us are pretty much at the track every weekend. Itâ€™s a great way to connect and build the relationships.â€
Otherwise his life is about his day job developing business for a company that builds touring concert stages, or developing his motorsports career, which he hopes takes him to MX-5 Cup in 2018.