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Jun 16, 2003
June 16, 2003-Monterey, Calif. - Clear blue skies and picturesque weather made for perfect racing conditions this weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Coined the Grand Prix of Monterey, race enthusiasts of all ages enjoyed three action-packed races, including the Bridgestone Presents ChampCar World Series Powered by Ford, Star Mazda Series and Spec Miata Challenge. The weekend also marked the inaugural use of the new Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca luxury pit-row suites, which are part of the ongoing improvements being made at the track.
The Grand Prix of Monterey ChampCar race headlined the weekend, and Canadian Patrick Carpentier, of Player's/Forsythe Racing, started from the pole and went on to complete a near perfect weekend and win the race - scoring his fourth career win. Bruno Junquiera took second for Newman/Haas Racing and Carpentier's teammate, Paul Tracy, joined Carpentier on the podium for a third-place finish.
Also running this weekend were the Star Mazda Series and the Spec Miata Challenge. The Star Mazda Series, which uses rotary-powered single-seat open wheel racecars, held its third round of the 2003 North American Championship. Luis Schiavo, of Caracas, Venezuela, took the checkered flag in his Racers Edge Motorsports/Rotelli Restaurants car. Team Red Line Oil driver, John Green, finished second and Moses Smith ended up third piloting the Team Tomlin Star Mazda racecar.
Spec Miata Challenge proved to be a monumental race for Barry Hartzel of Hartzel Automotive as he won his first major pro event. With a handful of second-place finishes, long-time Mazda racer and Spec Miata enthusiast, Hartzel was elated to finally take home the win. Tom S. Olivier crossed the line second behind the wheel of his Marin Brewing Company Spec Miata and Randy Evans came in third driving for Hoover Racing.
Since becoming the title sponsor in 2001, Mazda has been fully committed to the relationship with MRLS. The company works closely with track officials to ensure MRLS maintains its heritage as the preeminent racing facility in the country.
Mazda North American Operations is responsible for the sales and marketing, customer parts and services support of Mazda vehicles in the United States. Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., MNAO has more than 700 dealerships nationwide.