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MAZDASPEED MOTORSPORTS RULES THE WEEKEND
IRVINE, Calif., June 26, 2007 -- Mazda power was the word in the Midwest this past weekend, with multiple professional series at the Grand Prix of Cleveland and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, plus approximately 100 of the best Mazda Club Racers at the annual SCCA June Sprints at Road America in Wisconsin.
The Cleveland Grand Prix weekend featured a total of six Mazda-exclusive races, each a part of the expanding Mazda "Powered to Grow" ladder series. This was the first time since the inception of Mazda's partnership with Skip Barber Racing Schools that all three Mazda open-wheel racing series have shared the same race weekend.
Series: Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda
Race: No. 6 of 12
Recap: Series points leader Raphael Matos extended his championship lead by earning the provisional and final pole positions and a flag-to-flag victory. Matos led the field from the standing start into Turn 1 and was never headed. With four wins in 2007, Matos now leads his Sierra Sierra teammate James Hinchcliffe by 30 points.
Next up: Round 7 @ Mont Tremblant (Canada) on July 1.
Notes: Matos was the 2005 Star Mazda Champion and also races for Mazda in the ALMS endurance races with B-K Motorsports.
Series: Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear
Race: No. 6 of 12
Recap: Jonathan Goring of Norfolk, Conn., scored his first series win. Goring, the 2006 Skip Barber National Series champion, qualified on the outside of the front row and battled for most of the 45-minute race with pole-sitter leader Dane Cameron of Sonoma, Calif. Cameron finished 2nd and retains his points lead in the championship.
Next up: Round 7 @ Toronto (Canada) on July 7.
Notes: The 2007 Star Mazda Champion will be awarded a drive in the 2008 Champ Car Atlantic Series.
An interesting attraction in the Star Mazda paddock was a 1967 Mazda Cosmo 110S, the first production car ever to be powered by a Mazda rotary engine, and the world's first automotive application of the twin-rotor rotary engine. The car is powered by a 10A engine that, over the next 40 years, would evolve into the RENESIS engine as used by the production RX-8 and the Star Mazda race cars.
Series: BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda
Races: No. 5 & 6 of 14
Recap: The two winners in the previous race weekend did it again: Josef Newgarden of Henderson, Tenn., took pole for both Cleveland races, converting the first pole into a win. Fellow VIR winner Joel Miller, Hesperia, Calif., took the lead in the second race for his second win of the year. Miller now leads the points championship. The series saw the debut of 13-year-old Colombian Gabby Chaves, making his first Skip Barber National start. Chaves, qualified third, and made a fantastic start to lead the first lap before being passed by Newgarden, and finished where he started.
Next up: Rounds 7 & 8 @ Road America on Aug. 2-5.
Notes: The 2007 Skip Barber National Champion will be awarded a drive in the 2008 Star Mazda Championship Series.
Series: SCCA Pro Racing SIRIUS Satellite Radio Mazda MX-5 Cup
Races: Rounds 5 & 6 of 8
Recap: Taking advantage of the longest days of the year, Cleveland was a doubleheader for the series with Friday & Saturday races taking place just prior to sunset. The Friday race can only be described as a barnburner. The record books recorded eight official lead changes at the start-finish line, but overlook the dozens of passes and repasses around the track. Cleveland-area native, Jason Saini, scored a come-from-behind win after being bumped-off at turn one on the opening lap. Following Saini across the line were Ara Malkhassian and Andrew Caddell. In the second race, Saini repeated his success, but only after another fantastic battle that saw four different leaders (Saini, Caddell, Matt Cross, & Elivan Goulart) and two lead changes on the final lap. Both races were green flag all the way.
Next up: Round 7 @ Trois-Rivieres (Canada) on Aug. 18-19.
Notes: The 2007 SCCA Pro Racing SIRIUS Satellite Radio MX-5 Cup Champion will be awarded a drive in a MAZDA6 for the 2008 SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car Championship.
Finally, in the Champ Car World Series, Mazda shared the stage as the official car of both the Champ Car World Series and the Grand Prix of Cleveland. In addition, Mazda vehicles are used as safety support vehicles for the series.
Eighty miles to the south of Cleveland, the GrandAm series raced at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The SpeedSource team fielded rotary-powered Mazda RX-8s in both the 2.5 hour Grand-Am Rolex GT and KONI Challenge ST races. Roar Racing, BSI Racing, and Blackforest Motorsport also fielded cars in the KONI race. SpeedSource scored a very pair of close seconds with Sylvain Tremblay and Nick Ham just 1.195 seconds behind in GT and Jose Armengol and David Haskell a similar 1.191 seconds behind in the Koni race.
More than 90 of the best Mazda club racers participated in the 52nd running of the Piggly Wiggly Chicago Region SCCA June Sprints® at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. Mazda drivers stood atop the podium in six classes:
Showroom Stock C -- Joseph McClughan, New Braunfels, Texas, MAZDA3.
Spec Miata -- Jim Drago, Memphis, Tenn., Mazda Miata
D Prepared -- Robert Huffmaster, Rochester Hills, Mich., Mazda RX-8
GT-3 -- Rob Warkocki, Frankfort, Ill., Mazda RX-7 Formula Mazda; James Goughary Jr., Jupiter, Fla., Formula Mazda
Formula E -- Rusty Mitchell, Wacorie View, Texas, Formula SCCA-Mazda
World Challenge, NHRA, & ALMS updates:
- Round 6 of the SCCA SPEED World Challenge Touring Cars will take place at the Toronto Grand Prix on July 6-8. Tri-Point Motorsports teammates Randy Pobst and Jeff Altenburg have each scored a pair of wins with their MAZDA6 cars. The teammates are 1-2 in driver points and Mazda leads the manufacturers' championship.
- NHRA Sport Compact drag racing resumes July 13-14 at the 5th annual NHRA Las Vegas Sport Compact Nationals. Defending series champion Ed Bergenholtz (MAZDA6) is currently 3rd in points, just 54 points behind the leader, with six races remaining.
- The American Le Mans Series resumes with the Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut on July 6-7. B-K Motorsports will continue development of their new-for-2007 Lola B07/46 and Mazda MZR-R racing engine, and will be fighting for an LMP-2 class win.
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 fastest growing road-racing class in the U.S. is the SCCA's Spec Miata class, with nearly 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.
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