Jared Thomas wins Mazda MX-5 Cup title with Lemons of Love car

By J.A. Ackley
Oct 7, 2022 | Mazda, Mazda MX-5, Lemons of Love, Mazda MX-5 Cup, Jared Thomas, Connor Zilisch

Photograph Courtesy Mazda MX-5 Cup

Jared Thomas earned the Mazda MX-5 Cup championship by a mere 10 points. He claimed that title in a car sporting a yellow roll cage. However, that’s not any ordinary yellow. It’s Pantone 108, the color used on cars won through the annual MX-5 Cup raffle from Lemons of Love.

[How Lemons of Love uses motorsports to provide a lemon-yellow ray of hope]

Thomas didn’t acquire the car directly from the raffle. Instead, he obtained it from Mitch Bender, who won the MX-5 in the 2019 raffle. When Bender wanted to move into a faster class, Thomas bought the car. Since then, Thomas has kept the roll cage that distinctive Lemons of Love yellow.

It’s a great charity to represent,” said Thomas in an MX-5 Cup press release. “I first got involved when my mom had breast cancer and saw how it can help first person.”

Perhaps, that color carries a bit of luck with it, too.

The MX-5 Cup championship came down to the final event at Road Atlanta last Friday.

Contact with another car sent Thomas back to 17th, with less than 15 minutes left in the race. Connor Zilisch, who competed with Thomas for the crown, led the event.

Over the course of the next 13 minutes, Thomas fought his way back to ninth. Zilisch finished sixth, which should have gave Zilisch the championship.

However, a penalty applied to another competitor after the race moved Thomas up one spot, giving Thomas a 10-point lead and the title.

I literally didn’t know that I had won the championship until I found out right there on pit lane after the race,” Thomas said. “This is just a dream come true. The big thing for me is all the other great race car drivers that have been in this series and put their mark on it and now I finally get to do that.”

With the championship came a $250,000 prize from Mazda and a one-year lease on a new Mazda CX-50.

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