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Oct 10, 2007
October 10, 2007 (IRVINE, Calif.) - The action was concentrated on the East Coast this past weekend with big races at Road Atlanta, Virginia International Raceway, and Englishtown, New Jersey. The weekend highlights were Mazda clinching the SPEED World Challenge Touring Car Manufacturers Championship and two more young drivers winning Mazda spec series championships: Dane Cameron in Star Mazda, and Joel Miller in the Skip Barber national series.
"The SPEED World Challenge Championship was a great collective effort among the Tri-Point and Tindol teams, all six of our drivers, and of course our hardworking Mazda engineers. We're also pleased to see the success of Dane Cameron and Joel Miller in the Mazda ladder series. We are proud to assist both young drivers to the next rung of the ladder in 2008," noted Robert Davis, Senior Vice President, Product Development and Quality, Mazda North American Operations.
Road Atlanta Notes:
SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car Championship (Race nine of ten) - Michael Galati driving a Tindol Motorsports MAZDA6 scored a dramatic win in the rain at Road Atlanta, clearly demonstrating that a well-driven, well-engineering front-wheel-drive car can beat all-wheel-drive in the wet. The win, the fifth of the season for Mazda, clinched the manufacturers championship with one race remaining. Following Mazda is Acura, Audi, and BMW. The win also moved Galati up to eighth in the drivers championship.
The Tri-Point MAZDA6 duo of Jeff Altenburg and Randy Pobst, first and second in the drivers championship, had a rough weekend, struggling with their qualifying set-up and weight balance. Having won two races each earlier this season, the duo has been carrying the maximum of "success weights" designed to keep the competition level. In the race, Pobst was hit on both the opening and closing laps and finished 15th, while Altenburg managed to move up from his 15th starting position to finish 10th. Altenburg enters the final race with a 19-point lead over Pobst.
Fan and competitor reaction to the new Tri-Point HSUS Adopt a Shelter Pet program, with "MUTTS" characters 'Earl' the dog and 'Mooch' the cat on the car, was excellent. Many of the series drivers carried the "MUTTS" HSUS bumper stickers, including race winner Galati.
Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear (Race 11 of 12) - Series rookie Dane Cameron clinched the championship with a safe and sensible eighth place, in a wet and wild race that saw several incidents bringing out full course cautions. After it was all said and done, Lorenzo Mandarino scored his second win of the season followed closely by Devin Cunningham and Alex Ardoin. Finishing first in the master class (for drivers 45 year and older) was Richard Zober, while Gerry Kraut won the expert division (for drivers aged 30-44). It was the fourth win of the season for both Zober and Kraut.
American Le Mans Series Petit Le Mans (Race 11 of 12) - The 10th annual Petit Le Mans continued to build the foundation to add this annual 1,000 mile race to the endurance classics in Le Mans, France and Sebring, Florida. The B-K Motorsports Lola B07/46 Mazda MZR-R team struggled in qualifying, starting ninth in the LMP2 class, but drove a great race to be battling for third place after 800 miles. Unfortunately a driveline failure resulted in a late race DNF for the driving team of Ben Devlin, Jamie Bach, and Raphael Matos.
Virginia International Raceway Notes:
KONI Challenge (Race 12 of 12) - The KONI Challenge series concluded their season with round # 12.With combined efforts from SpeedSource, BSI Racing, and Roar Racing resulting in 16 top-ten finishes, Mazda secured third place in the manufacturers championship. Jose Armengol, driver of the SpeedSource #69 Mazda RX-8, was third in the driver's championship with a total of seven top-ten finishes, including a pair of podium appearances.
BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda (Races 13 and 14 of 14) - Points leader Joel Miller clinched the championship by finishing 10th in Saturday's race one. With the championship clinched, Miller put together a dramatic effort in race two, coming from the sixth row to win with a last-lap, last-corner battle to win by .029 of a second. The 19-year-old Miller, from Hesperia, Calif., earned the Mazda ladder bonus of a funded ride in the 2008 Star Mazda championship. Over the 14 races, Miller scored five wins and 404 points. Runner-up was Ricky Taylor, a two-time winner with 368 points, while third place went to two-time race winner A.J. Riley with 357 points.
NHRA Sport Compact Drag Races - A rough weekend in Englishtown for both the Pro-FWD and Modified class Mazda racers with neither Ed Bergenholtz or Ken Scheepers making it to the finals. U.S. Nationals Pro-RWD winner Boris Rojas was the runner-up at Englishtown in his Mazda pick-up.
Only two big road-racing and sport compact drag racing weekends remain:
SCCA National Championship Runoffs Presented by AT&T - Heartland Park, Topeka, Kansas. Over 150 Mazda and Mazda-powered racers in 25 classes.
Monterey Sports Car Championships at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Monterey, Calif. Season finale for ALMS, SCCA SPEED World Challenge, and Star Mazda
NHRA Sport Compact Drags at Pomona, Calif. Season finale
On any given weekend, there are more Mazdas on the road-race tracks of America than any other brand of vehicle. At the track, you'll see MX-5 Miata, RX-8, MAZDA3, MAZDA6, RX-7 and other vintage Mazda models competing, because every Mazda has the Soul of a Sports Car. In fact, the largest road-racing class in the world is Spec Miata, with more than 1,500 first- and second-generation Miatas tearing up America's racetracks, making it the most-raced production car in the world. Mazda's involvement in motorsports extends to its relationship with Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, one of the world's premier road-racing circuits, and the Skip Barber Schools for driving and racing.
Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., Mazda North American Operations oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States, Canada and Mexico through nearly 900 dealers.Operations in Canada are managed by Mazda Canada, Inc., located in Ontario, Canada, and in Mexico by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.