Star Mazda hands out end of year awards
Chateau Elan / Braselton, GA – Hours after concluding the 11-weekend, 13-race 2010 season with a dramatic win from the pole by MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver Development Ladder driver Connor De Phillippi -- a flawless drive that also secured him 'Rookie of the Year' honors -- the drivers, teams, crew and officials of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear (along with the Skip Barber Nationals Presented by Mazda and USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda) gathered at the Chateau Elan in Braselton, GA for the 2010 MAZDASPEED Motorsports Ladder Awards Dinner.
|Star Mazda champion Conor Daly|
The Star Mazda Championship, having concluded its 20th anniversary season, distributed a prize fund valued at more than $1.2 million to the top-15 drivers in the series, the series 'Rookie of the Year,' the top-3 finishers in the Expert and Master Series, the top-3 finishers in the Team Championship and five special 'awards of merit.' In addition, merchandise valued at more than $40,000 is awarded via drawings conducted during driver meetings at each race weekend, including 26 sets of new Goodyear radial racing tires (two sets per weekend) and 13 sets of Performance Friction brake pads, bringing the total value of prizes awarded during the season to more than $1.25 million.
The Top-3 Finishers / $842,000 total
As overall champion, with seven wins and a series-record nine poles driving the #22 Juncos Racing / INDECK / The College Network / Merchant Services Ltd. Mazda, Conor Daly (above left, with Mazda head of product development Robert Davis) won $100,000 in cash, an Indy Lights test worth $12,000 with Andersen racing and also the first annual VISITFLORIDA Cup, a 7-race championship-within-a-championship sponsored by the Series' TV partner; his prize is a custom Florida vacation. Daly's big prize, the career-enhancing opportunity all the drivers in the series were fighting for, is a Mazda-backed ride in a Speedsource RX-8 competing in the 2011 Grand-Am GT class; this prize is valued at $600,000, bringing his total to $712,000.
|Daly might run a few Grand-Am GT races since they will be free rides, but otherwise Daly is rumored off to Europe and GP3 - i.e. real racing|
This was Daly's second season in the Star Mazda championship; as the 2008 champion in the Skip Barber Pro Series, he won his first season in 2009, valued at $350,000, via the MAZDASPEED Ladder, and finished 3rd in the championship with one win from the pole and six podiums, collecting $50,000 in cash.
The sponsored GT drive for the 2011 season comes courtesy of the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver Development Ladder, the only automaker-supported ladder system in auto racing today that reaches all the way from karting to the top levels of the sport. In 2010, the 2008 Star Mazda champion, American John Edwards and 2009 champion, Englishman Adam Christodoulou co-drove a Speedsource-fielded MAZDA RX-8 in the 2010 Grand-Am GT class, scoring a win at Lime Rock and helping Mazda win the manufacturer's title.
Finishing second, with a record of one pole, six podiums and 13 top-5 finishes was Anders 'The Viking' Krohhn, driver of the #47 Andersen Racing / Norse Cutting & Abandonment / Trallfa / Colosseum Mazda. Krohn, 22, was in contention for the series championship until Daly's win from the pole in Round 12 at Mosport, and his remarkably consistent season earned him a check for $70,000. This was also Krohn's second season of Star Mazda Championship competition; in 2009, he won on the Milwaukee Mile oval, finished on the podium twice and scored nine top-10s to finish 6th in the championship and win $30,000.
Finishing third in the championship and collecting a check for $50,000 was 17 year-old Connor De Phillippi, the 2009 Skip Barber Pro Series champion and winner of the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver Development Ladder scholarship that provided funding for his 2010 Star Mazda Championship. His record of one pole, one win, three podiums and eight top-5s driving the #11 JDC Motorsports / MAZDASPEED Motorsports / Skip Barber Mazda earned him 'Rookie of the Year' honors and an additional $10,000.
It's also worth noting that, with the addition of the USF2000 National Championship to the MAZDASPEED Ladder, this year's Skip Barber Pro Series champion will graduate to USF2000 while 2010 USF2000 champion and VP Fuels 'Rookie of the Year,' Sage Karam, a 15-year old racer from Nazareth, PA, won the $350,000 MAZDASPEED Ladder scholarship and will move up to the 2011 Star Mazda Championship. Karam scored nine wins racing his #8 Andretti Autosport Van Diemen Mazda with sponsorship from the Michael Fux Foundation, Comfort Revolution, Bell Helmets, Alpine Stars, Walters Web and Artrotondo.com.
4th through 15th-place finishers/ $296,500 total
More than 35 male and female drivers from eleven countries and ranging in age from 17 to 64 years old participated in one or more Star Mazda Championship races during the 2010 season, with a top field of 24 cars in Race 2 / Round 9 at Autobahn Country Club. The Series pays prize money down to 15th place in the points, including;
4th / $40,000 – Jorge Goncalvez, 19, of Venezuela driving the #9 Team Apex / Wabash Capital Investments Mazda (5 podiums, 10 top-10s / Note: on the official points chart he is listed as having come in first in Round 10 at Trois-Rivières; the race was actually won by Alex Ardoin, last year's winner, who came back to drive a one-off for Team GDT. He was entered in the race but not in the series and therefore received no points and was not listed on the points chart.)
5th / $35,000 – French racer and series rookie Tristan Vautier, 21, driving the #38 Andersen Racing / Moulin TP / Cecibon / Circuit du Laquais / Fontanel Mazda (two wins, three podiums, five top-5s).
6th / $30,000 – Brazilian racer Caio Lara, 19, driving the #19 JDC Motorsports / MLD / ATW / Sunbol Mazda (one win, three podiums, twelve top-10s). Lara, a third-year Star Mazda racer, finished 8th in the 2009 championship.
7th / $27,000 – Brazilian racer and series rookie Joao Victor Horto, 20, driving the #18 Team Apex / Wabash Capital Investments / BomBril-Programa LeiLoes Mazda (four podiums, nine top-10s).
8th / $25,000 – Quebec racer Mikael Grenier, 17, driving the #17 Andersen Racing / Slow Cow / April Super Flow / NAPA Auto Parts / HS Telecom / Desharnais Mazda (one win, two poles, three podiums, nine top-10s). Note: Grenier drove six races in 2009, finishing on the podium twice, and is therefore not considered a rookie.
9th / $22,500 – Texas racer Rusty Mitchell, a third-year driver who started the season driving the #66 Mitchell Motorsports / Motorola / Petrocomm Mazda, and switched teams to drive the #66 Juncos Racing / Motorola / Petro Communications / HRP Racing Products / Texas Autosports Mazda (two top-5s, eleven top-10s). Mitchell finished 12th in the 2009 championship.
10th / $20,000 – Colombian racer Tatiana Calderon, a 17 year-old rookie and the lone female running the full series, driving the #25 Juncos Racing / JAC Motors Mazda (six top-10 finishes).
11th / $18,000 – American Chris Miller, 21, a series rookie driving the #85 JDC Motorsports / Miller Milling / Red Line Oil Mazda (five top-10 finishes) Note: Miller was the 2009 F2000 series champion.
12th / $16,000 – Canadian David Ostella, 19, a second-year driver who raced the #16 AIM Autosport / GP Global Precast Mazda (two top-5s, seven top-10s). Ostella finished 13th in the 2009 championship.
13th / $14,000 – Venezuelan rookie Carlos Linares, 18, driving the #20 Linares Racing / Instituto Nacional De Deportes Mazda (one top-10, ten top-15s). Linares was the 2009 Venezuelan F1600 champion.
14th / $12,000 – Texas racer J.W. Roberts, a third-year Star Mazda racer, driving the #65 Team GDT / General Data Tech Mazda. In addition to finishing 14th in the overall championship, he won the Expert Series championship for drivers 30-44 years old with nine in-class wins. He is also the owner of Team GDT, which won the Master Series championship with Puerto Rico racer Carlos Conde. He only ran three races in 2009, scoring one in-class victory, but ran a full schedule in 2008, finishing 2nd in the Expert Series with three in-class wins.
15th / $10,000 – American Nick Andries, 19, a series rookie driving the #81 Andersen Racing / "Indy 500: An American Icon / Team Pelfrey Mazda (four top-10 finishes). Note: Andries ran a limited schedule of ten races, only nine of which counted toward the championship because he did not enter the series in his debut race in Round 2 at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Andries was the 2009 Skip Barber Summer Series champion and finished 6th in the 2010 Skip Barber Pro Series.
Experts and Masters / $35,000 total
The Star Mazda Championship is unique in featuring race-within-a-race categories for more mature drivers in whom the competitive fire still burns brightly. The Expert Series is for drivers 30-44 years of age and the Master Series is for drivers 45 and older. In 2010, both titles were won by drivers for Team GDT.
Texan J.W. Roberts, head of a computer services company called General Data Tech and owner of Team GDT, scored eight in-class wins and won the Expert Series championship driving the #65 Team GDT / General Data Tech Mazda; he collected a check for $10,000, in addition to the $12,000 he won for finishing 14th in the overall championship.
Finishing second was California racer Patrick O'Neill, driving the #64 JDC Motorsports / O'Neill Construction Mazda. He scored two in-class victories and was awarded a check for $5,000. This is his second season of Star Mazda competition; he finished 3rd in the Expert Series in 2009. He also won the NASA Pro FM class in 2010.
Finishing third in the Expert Series was top World Superbike Championship racer Larry Pegram, who made an exploratory foray into 4-wheel racing this season. He finished 2nd in class three times driving the #72 AIM Autosport / Tampa Bay Jaw Surgery / Foremost Insurance Mazda and was awarded a check for $2,500.
In the Master Series, investment banker Carlos Conde, a native of Puerto Rico who now lives in Scarsdale, New York, scored six in-class wins driving the #31 Team GDT / Pronto-GMT / Olympus Securities Mazda; he collected a check for $10,000. Conde, a former semi-pro polo player, has driven occasional races in previous seasons, finishing 4th in the Master Series in 2009.
Finishing second was North Oaks, Minnesota resident Gerry Kraut, co-owner of the JDC Motorsports team and CEO of a venture capital firm. Driving the #55 JDC Motorsports / Dougherty & Co. / Dougherty Funding LLC Mazda, he scored four in-class victories and won $5,000. Kraut has been a regular competitor in the series since 2007.
Finishing third was West Palm Beach racer/CEO Dom Bastien, driver of the #37 Andersen Racing Mazda. He wrapped up his season with an in-class victory at Road Atlanta and collected a check for $2,500.
Team Championship / $22,500 total
The Star Mazda Championship 'Team Championship' is based on points earned by each team's two highest-finishing cars. Even in the case of larger teams, only the top-2 count toward the championship. Smaller, one-car teams get a bonus of 5 points per race to compensate and allow them to compete against larger teams.
Winning the team championship with a total of 339 points, and a check for $10,000, was Andersen Racing. This is Andersen Racing's second team championship; they also won in 2008. Andersen racing fielded a four-car effort throughout the season, including drivers Anders 'The Viking' Krohn (2nd in the championship), Tristan Vautier (two wins, 5th in the championship) and Mikael Grenier (one win, two poles, 8th in the championship). Andersen Racing is the largest organization in the Star Mazda Championship, fielding teams in Star Mazda, USF2000 and Indy Lights. They are also the organizers of the USF2000 Championship and own their own testing facility, Andersen Racepark, located in Palmetto, FL.
Finishing second in the Team Championship was Juncos Racing, the second-year squad that won the 2010 series championship with Conor Daly; team owner Ricardo Juncos accepted a check for $7,500. Juncos Racing fielded a three-car team during most of the season, including Indianapolis native Conor Daly, Colombian racer Tatiana Calderon and Texan Rusty Mitchell. The team scored seven wins and nine poles during the 2010 season. In 2009, their 'rookie season' in the Star Mazda Championship, they finished 3rd in the Team Championship after scoring five poles and four wins with driver Peter 'The Irish Steamroller' Dempsey.
Finishing third in the Team Championship was Team Apex, a 'rookie' squad in their first season of Star Mazda Championship competition after switching over from Formula BMW Americas when that series ceased operations. Team Apex fielded cars for Jorge Goncalvez (4th in the championship) and Joao Victor Horto (7th in the championship). They scored one win and nine podiums for 285 points and a check for $5,000.
Awards of Merit / $19,000 total
The Quartermaster "Clutch Performer Award" is designed to keep drivers motivated in the home stretch by scoring the most points earned by a competitor in the final six races of the season. The trophy and check for $5000 was presented to Nick Andries, driver of the #81 Andersen Racing / "Indy 500: An American Icon / Team Pelfrey Mazda.
The BBS 'Hard Charger Award" is scored over all 13 races during the season and is presented to the driver who gains the most places in total from the beginning to end of the races. The prize, a custom-made coffee table made from a polished BBS wheel and etched glass top, plus a set of four BBS racing or BBS road car wheels (valued at $5,000), was presented to Expert Series champion J.W. Roberts, driver of the #65 Team GDT / General Data Tech Mazda.
The VP Fuel "Most Improved Driver Award" is a consensus award that is nominated by all participants, drivers and teams, in the Star Mazda Championship. It is awarded to the driver who has shown the most growth and improvement as a driver. A trophy and check for $5,000 were presented to Venezuelan racer Jorge Goncalvez, driver of the #9 Team Apex / Wabash Capital Investments Mazda.
The Performance Friction Company "Crew Member of the Year Award" is also the result of nominations from all Star Mazda Championship participants and is awarded to the team member who has done a consistently outstanding job throughout the season. The award, and a check for $1,500, was presented to Taylor Joy, Crew Chief for Juncos Racing.
The President's Cup, also known as the "Spirit of the Star Mazda Championship Award" is also a consensus award, ultimately decided by the President of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear, Gary Rodrigues. It, along with a check for $2,500, is awarded to the person who most typifies the qualities and character that the Star Mazda Championship values and promotes; for 2010, that person was Dennis Watley, Equipment Manager for Andersen Racing.
2010 marked the 20th anniversary of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear, now the longest-running road racing series in North America. For more information on the Star Mazda Championship and its drivers, as well as the Mazda Motorsports ladder system, please visit www.StarMazda.com. For additional information, interviews and photos, contact Star Mazda Communications Director Peter Frey at (818) 398-5733 or StarMazdaPR@aol.com.
On any given weekend there are more Mazdas on the road courses of America than any other brand of vehicle. MX-5 Miata, RX-8, MAZDA3, MAZDA6, RX-7 and other vintage Mazda models are all popular race cars 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 2,500 first- and second-generation Miatas tearing up America's racetracks, it the most-raced production car in the world. Mazda's involvement in motorsports extends to its relationship with one of the world's premier road courses, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Salinas, Calif., and the Skip Barber Schools for driving and racing.
Celebrating its 40th anniversary in the United States in 2010, Mazda North American Operations is headquartered in Irvine, Calif. It oversees the sales, marketing, parts business and customer service 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. Operations in Mexico are managed by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.