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#21
Johnny D

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Congrat to Joey Jordon !!

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Spec Miata racer took on World Challenge Touring Car B in a Mazda2 with impressive results.

Nominated by his peers as one of five for the Spirit of Mazda award in October, the Mazda community has selected Joey Jordan as the most deserving. Winning four races in five starts is about as close to the Spirit of Mazda principle “Flawless Execution” as it gets. That’s what Jordan did when he contested the final two weekends of the 2015 Pirelli World Challenge Championships driving the CorkSport Mazda 2 in Touring Car B.

The team didn’t start the first race at Miller Motorsports Park due to a broken axle, but landed on the podium in the second race at the Utah track, Jordan’s first. From there, he won every race to close out the season, including sweeping the weekend in the finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The kind of performance along with a dedication to Mazda throughout his so-far-short racing career are the things that earn one Spirit of Mazda recognition.

“Having known Joey since he was literally knee high, it is incredible to have seen him grow into a fine young man,” says Charles Espenlaub, owner of Safecraft Racing and a professional racer who spent some time racing for Joe (Joey’s father) and Jim (Joey’s uncle) Jordan’s Protomotive race team in World Challenge. “He is the spirit of Mazda, a truly good guy that is enjoyable to hang with in the paddock and a fierce competitor on the track. His ability to ‘flick the switch’ from easy going to focused driver and executing his job flawlessly on the track makes me proud to have him in the Mazda family.”

Joey Jordan had been racing in Spec Miata before his World Challenge starts, and attributes racing in that competitive class to his performance in the TCB car. Of course, Jordan kind of grew up in the sport as well, and likely picked up a trick or two along the way.

“As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a race car driver, and I watched my dad and uncle racing, and they were always racing Mazdas,” Jordan says. “So I was kind of born into it. I remember coming to all these World Challenge races when they were running Touring Car and wanting to be that driver, wanting to do this. It’s pretty cool when you have these little kids running up and wanting autographs from you…that was me. It’s a little bit of a shell shock, dream-come-true kind of deal.”

If his performance in World Challenge TCB at the end of the season was any indication, he better get used to signing autographs. In the meantime, he says he’ll continue to race Spec Miata when he can, and you can bet he’ll continue to demonstrate the Spirit of Mazda along the way.
 


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#22
Danny Steyn

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Joey Jordan is the real deal. Fortunate to have him share the OPM trailer at the 2013 Runoffs at Road America. Never been to the track before, spent test days studying my data diligently, improving every session, and then in the race, from a 20th place grid position, wheeled Tom Fowler's rental car to a 6th place finish, just a second or two off the winner. Young, well mannered, courteous, diligent, good looking, well spoken and a wheelman ....... every sponsors dream!

 

Congrats Joey!


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#23
Joe (dad) Jordan

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Thanks guys, was cool to see him get recognized and it was a real surprise!


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#24
Johnny D

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Congrats to Texas-based racer Deriann Taylor!!
Quit the poser, maybe Danny should get in there. :)

Having started racing at age nine, Texas-based racer Deriann Taylor, 20, has been dismissed by many throughout her career for being a female racer. But those who know her, know she is not only a multi-time championship racer, she embodies the Challenger Spirit. Now, more will know her story as the Mazda community voted her to be the person most deserving of the Spirit of Mazda award for the month of January.

Each month, our community nominates those who embody the core values of Mazda. Five finalists each month are determined, and the Mazda community votes who is the most deserving. Nominated for her Challenger Spirit, Ms. Taylor sets high goals and never stops challenging to achieve them.

In 2005, Ms. Taylor, pictured center, started her racing career by claiming Rookie of the Year honors in the Hill Country Kart Club. The accolades only continued, winning the Yamaha Junior One championship in 2006; the Yamaha Supersportsman championship in 2007; the Tag Junior championship as well as the Region 4B Tag Junior Championship in 2008 and 2009; Southwest Roadracing Association Region 4B S5 125cc Junior Shifter championship; and in 2012, she competed in cars for the first time – ran four races in the Teen Mazda Challenge, Spec Miata Texas region, finishing 6th in the championship.

Ms. Taylor’s championship winning ways continued in 2015 when she claimed the Teen Mazda Challenge crown, Texas region. With her on-track and off-track performance, she earned a nomination for the Mazda Road to 24 (#MRT24) Shootout.

While she has proven her meddle with her on-track championships, what differentiates Ms. Taylor from many other competitors is her Challenger Spirit, which some say is innate. When she was only 11 years old, she went to her first club race outside of her home track. When she arrived, she was told that she did not have the correct tires to participate in the event. She walked the track in search of old tires! As luck would have it, or we would argue as the luck that she created would have it, she found an old set of tires in the dumpster. Her father patched the tires and sent her out with the 8-11 year old competitors. On those patched, old tires, she won the race and set a track record for her age group! The officials told her that since her birthday was in December, she could run with the 12-15 year olds. So she did on the same set of tires, coming in P3 and setting another track record for that age group.

“Throughout my racing career, I have been dismissed simply because I am a girl,” commented Ms. Taylor. “It has taken me a long time to earn respect. I have raced since I was 9 and have never looked back or veered paths. Nothing can stop me from reaching my goals.” For your challenger spirit, the Mazda community commends you. Also, Mazda commends you for working with a Mazda dealership to get your Spec Maita race car on display in its store.

Her racing goals: “Continue up the MRT24 ladder, competing in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge by age 21,” commented Ms. Taylor. With her spirit and fortitude, we won’t be surprised if she is setting more records in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.


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#25
davew

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Congratulations, and welcome to the club.

 

Dave


Dave Wheeler
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#26
trimless

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Congratualtions Deriann, well deserved!


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#27
Johnny D

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The Spirit of Mazda: Justin Hille
During the month of July, we asked the Mazda community to recommend and vote for who should be recognized as The Spirit of Mazda winner for June. We have tallied the votes and named Justin Hille as the winner. (In recognition of The Spirit of Mazda award, Mazda Motorsports provides a heavy-duty, tailored Mazda jacket to each award member.)

Master of the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Justin Hille has been making a lot of headlines lately. This year, he competed in the SCCA Northern Conference Majors, successfully defending his SCCA U.S Majors Conference championship. He took the win at Mid-Ohio in June during the Majors event where many of the best Spec Miata drivers in the country (and arguably the world) competed. The only event left - The SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Mid-Ohio. (And we have said before, we expect him to vie for the win. Mid-Ohio is his home track, and he can drive it forward and backward with his eyes closed, on any line he chooses.)
Hille’s talent is not why he earned his The Spirit of Mazda award; rather, it was for embracing the “One Mazda” spirit. With six years of Spec Miata competition under his belt, Hille is able to offer guidance to others. But as most know, able does not always translate to willing.
Back in June, Hille provided MazdaMotorsports.com with some tips about how to drive Mid-Ohio. With this being the biggest Club Racing (Road Racing) event in the country, to share tips with others is rare, particularly by a front-runner. This is, however, a “One Mazda” trait. Working together and helping others is not foreign to Hille as we hear this is a common trait of his. As such, this is one reason he was nominated and then voted to become the Spirit of Mazda winner for June. - See more at: https://mazdamotorsp...h.HRdPE7Em.dpuf
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#28
davew

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A most deserved award.

 

Welcome to the club. I will teach you the secret handshake at Mid Ohio.

 

Cool Jacket too!!!!!!


Dave Wheeler
Advanced Autosports, the nations most complete Spec Miata shop
Author, Spec Miata Constructors Guide, version 1 and 2.0

Building Championship winning cars since 1995

3 time consecutive Central DIvision Champion car builder 2012-2013-2014

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Over 200 race wins and counting.
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#29
Danica Davison

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He also shares all of his iRacing setups ... and for that I am thankful!  :)

 

Congrats!


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#30
Johnny D

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The Spirit of Mazda: Jim Downing

 

When you think of Jim Downing, many words and phrases may come to mind.  IMSA Racer.  Georgia Tech grad. Engineer. Smart.  Creative.  Safety-minded.  Understated. Quiet. Integrity. Problem-solver. Mazda legend. IMSA Lights.  HANS. Kudzu.  Downing embodies many of the core values of the Mazda spirit, and in fact helped develop the culture that is the challenger within Mazda Motorsports today. For these reasons and more, the Mazda Motorsports community recognizes Jim Downing as the recipient of The Spirit of Mazda award from the month of August. -

 

Jim-Downing.jpg

 

Old school Mazda people know Downing as one of the early RX-2, RX-3, RX-7 pioneers.  1980’s race fans remember him for creating, and dominating, the IMSA Lights class.  The industry knows him as the persistent catalyst behind the HANS device.

 
Downing has a 50+ year career behind the wheel.  He earned the pole position at the first SCCA Runoffs in 1964, driving a Formula Vee, and was racing just last month in a Mazda-powered P2 prototype at the 2016 SCCA Runoffs.  In between he won multiple IMSA GTU races in his Downing/Atlanta RX-7.  He created the IMSA (Camel) Lights class and won the first three class championships in 1985-1987

 
Racers, and the entire motorsports world owe him a debt for his long-term development of the Head and Neck Support (HANS) system that has contributed so much to modern motorsports safety.

 
Downing has been credited as the first racer to identify the problems associated with a restrained torso and an unrestrained head in sudden deceleration impacts.  Downing enlisted his brother-in-law, Dr. Robert Hubbard, a bio mechanical crash engineer, to co-design the HANS device to protect against these types of injuries. Downing was the lone tester for the early versions. After the death of Dale Earnhardt, virtually every sanctioning body in the world made the devices mandatory equipment.

 
Downing has received many awards over the years and has been inducted to both the SCCA and Sebring Hall of Fame. We are honored to be able to name him as the most recent Spirit of Mazda award recipient.
 


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#31
Johnny D

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Spirit of Mazda: Sean Hedrick

  

Owner of MiataCage.com and a Spec Miata racer, Hedrick is always looking for ways to do things better

 

Hedrick.jpg

 

There are a lot of Spec Miatas and other Miata-based race cars out there with Sean Hedrick's cages in them. If you've built your own, you've likely heard of MiataCage.com, Hedrick's business, which has sold more than 1,300 weld-in cage kits for NA and NB Miatas. But it's not so much that he has a business supporting Mazda racers that has earned him recognition as having the Spirit of Mazda, but his continued pursuit of excellence.

 

“The one thing Sean and I have in common and why we get along so well is we're both after doing it right, doing it the best way we possibly can,” says Ralph Provitz, owner of V2 Motorsports, which preps Spec Miatas among other cars and who has collaborated with Hedrick on some projects. “We're not trying to be the cheapest out there, and he's not either; but whatever he provides, he wants it to be the best. That's his biggest attribute – it's either do it right or not do it at all. He's always bringing it to a higher level.”

 

Provitz and Hedrick are working on an electronic kill switch that eliminated the hot leads going into the cockpit that will put the kill switch in a convenient spot. They also worked on new front hubs and subframe gussets. Both are also on the SCCA Spec Miata Advisory Committee, working to make sure the rules serve the best interests of racers.

 

Hedrick2-259x300.jpg

 

“He wants everything legal; he's really big on that – he doesn't like shenanigans,” says Provitz of Hedrick.

 

While Provitz couldn't pick out one Spirit of Mazda quality that Hedrick embodies, saying that really all of them fit, he does note Hedrick is, “incredibly hard working, and he's not afraid to invest money to develop products for the racers.”

 

While driving isn't Hedrick's focus these days, he does race his own Spec Miata on occasion. Provitz describes him as a good, heads-up racer who's adamant about cleaning up the contact in the class. But most of all, Hedrick is just a good guy, he says: “We should feel very proud to have people like him involved.”


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2011 NASA Western Endurance Racing Championship E3 Champ
We have a Winnah! - Won their 1st race... Congratulations! Beta-Tester - Assisted us with beta testing the website. Donor - Made PayPal donation Bona fide - A bonafide Spec Miata driver Novel Approach - When a paragraph simply won't do... Survive the 25, NASA Thunderhill - Survive the 25, NASA Thunderhill Instigator - Made a topic or post that inspired other Make it Rain - Made Paypal donation of $100+

#32
Danny Steyn

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Congrats on the award Sean


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June Sprints winner  - June Sprints winner Series Champ - Won a points based series in a Spec Miata ARRC Champion - Won the ARRC Race in a Spec Miata We have a Winnah! - Won their 1st race... Congratulations! Bona fide - A bonafide Spec Miata driver June Sprints winner  - June Sprints winner ARRC Champion - Won the ARRC Race in a Spec Miata ARRC Champion - Won the ARRC Race in a Spec Miata Majors Winner - BFG Supertour Winner -

#33
FTodaro

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Congrats Sean, you are somebody now. LOL.


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#34
Ron Alan

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Long over due! Well deserved Sean!


Ron

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#35
Jim Drago

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Congrats Sean


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Hoosier Super Tour points Champion - Hoosier Super Tour points Champion ARRC Champion - Won the ARRC Race in a Spec Miata Series Champ - Won a points based series in a Spec Miata BFG Supertour Winner - Majors Winner - Circuit of the Americas Winner - We have a Winnah! - Won their 1st race... Congratulations! June Sprints winner  - June Sprints winner June Sprints winner  - June Sprints winner June Sprints winner  - June Sprints winner June Sprints winner  - June Sprints winner SCCA National Champion - Won SCCA Runoffs at Road America SCCA National Champion - Won SCCA Runoffs at Road America

#36
Johnny D

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JohnCarter-400x244.jpg

 

Spirit of Mazda: John Carter

 

Spec Miata racer energized everyone at the track with enthusiasm and positivity

 

There are those who come to the track and no matter what kind of day they are having, the simple joy of racing makes them glad to be there. Often, those people lift everyone’s spirits as well. John Carter was one of those people, and one who left us way too soon. But his love for life and the sport earns him the first posthumous Spirit of Mazda award.

 

“The kid was never in a bad mood,” says Jim Drago, who often raced against him. “He had a smile on his face from the minute you saw him.”

 

Carter, who passed away in June, was a talented racer as well, winning at the American Road Race of Champions before moving to Spec Miata, where he holds the track record at Road Atlanta. He was also an accomplished competitive swimmer before he took to racing, and friends describe him as a genius, particularly when it came to computer coding.

 

“He was just very carefree,” says John Davison, Carter’s teammate and drafting partner at AutoTechnik Racing. “He wasn’t scared of anything, and it showed in his driving. But he never really took it too seriously to where he wasn’t having fun. He was always laughing and making other people laugh. I don’t think I ever saw him mad.”

 

Davison says Carter loved his Mazdas on the street, as well. He had an RX-8 and always said he wanted to put a rotary in everything. “We could tell stories about John all day long and never get tired of it because they were always just so crazy and funny. He lived life the same way he raced – full throttle,” Davison says.

 

Even a bad day couldn’t get him down. “The guy was just a beacon of sunlight,” says Drago. “I touched him at Atlanta when we were fighting for the lead and he went off. He didn’t get upset – he knew we were just racing hard.”

 

Drago and others say that Carter will be missed by everyone, which is a testament to who he was and the way he raced and lived his life. That love for the sport is why John Carter is the Spirit of Mazda award winner for June.


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2011 NASA Western Endurance Racing Championship E3 Champ
We have a Winnah! - Won their 1st race... Congratulations! Beta-Tester - Assisted us with beta testing the website. Donor - Made PayPal donation Bona fide - A bonafide Spec Miata driver Novel Approach - When a paragraph simply won't do... Survive the 25, NASA Thunderhill - Survive the 25, NASA Thunderhill Instigator - Made a topic or post that inspired other Make it Rain - Made Paypal donation of $100+

#37
Jim Drago

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The best one yet! Congrats John Carter!


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Hoosier Super Tour points Champion - Hoosier Super Tour points Champion ARRC Champion - Won the ARRC Race in a Spec Miata Series Champ - Won a points based series in a Spec Miata BFG Supertour Winner - Majors Winner - Circuit of the Americas Winner - We have a Winnah! - Won their 1st race... Congratulations! June Sprints winner  - June Sprints winner June Sprints winner  - June Sprints winner June Sprints winner  - June Sprints winner June Sprints winner  - June Sprints winner SCCA National Champion - Won SCCA Runoffs at Road America SCCA National Champion - Won SCCA Runoffs at Road America

#38
Johnny D

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Congrats Preston !!

 

Spirit of Mazda: Preston Pardus

 

Pardus-podium-372x400.jpg

 

Young Runoffs champion is well liked by everyone in the paddock

 

Not many outside of the Southeast had heard of Spec Miata racer Preston Pardus, but the 2017 SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Indianapolis Motor Speedway certainly changed that when he walked away the champ after a thrilling battle that involved, among others, Sellin Rollan, Chris Haldeman and Michael Gagliardo. But while he unequivocally proved his driving chops with that performance, it’s his attitude outside the car that makes him popular in the paddock.

 

“That kid doesn’t have an enemy in the world,” says Jim Drago, who rents a car to Pardus. “He’s got a great personality, really nice – almost too nice. He gets along with everybody and I don’t think there was anyone that wasn’t truly happy when he won, because he’s a really good kid. He’s been moving up and up. Ironically, he’s never won a Majors race and he’s never won a Super Tour race. So his first real win was at the Runoffs.”

 

The past few years have been tough on Pardus, as he fought a battle with cancer. To come out on the other side of that and take on some of Spec Miata’s best, and win, is testament to a lot of hard work.

 

“The list of qualities that embody the Spirit of Mazda…Preston Pardus already has all of them,” says friend and fellow SM racer John Davison. “The hard work and dedication that he and his family have put in over the past couple years has really come to fruition in what most would say is his breakout year in racing. In 2017, he earned his first SCCA Majors podium, which helped propel him to become the SCCA Runoffs champion at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His skills behind the wheel, however, are only just a part of what make him a deserving Spirit of Mazda winner. He is a true champion both on and off the track.”

 

Davison echoes much of what Drago has to say about Pardus, who went a long way toward earning his “P-Money” nickname at the Runoffs. That includes his likability and popularity.

 

“It would be difficult to find one person that has anything against Preston,” adds Davison. “He is a role model, a good person and a loyal friend to many. Even at just 20 years of age, he handles himself with more class and maturity than most people I have ever met in my life. He is always willing to go out of his way to help out another competitor with tips, video and data analysis, setup advice, and more.”

 

That indicates that Tomoiku – Learn and teach each other for mutual growth and success – is one Spirit of Mazda quality that stands out with Pardus. So, too, is Continuous Kaizen – continue improving with wisdom and ingenuity. “He’s every methodical,” says Drago. “He makes very few mistakes. He takes to coaching really well – I’ve been helping him with strategy, when to be aggressive. He’s constantly improving himself.”

 

Davison says Pardus, who has a 2015 MX-5 as his daily driver, also represents Mazda well by having a clean, well-prepared car and with the great video edits he puts on his YouTube channel.

 

For all he’s accomplished, and in doing it with style and friendship, Preston Pardus is the Spirit of Mazda award winner for October.


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#39
Jim Drago

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Well deserved Preston!
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Hoosier Super Tour points Champion - Hoosier Super Tour points Champion ARRC Champion - Won the ARRC Race in a Spec Miata Series Champ - Won a points based series in a Spec Miata BFG Supertour Winner - Majors Winner - Circuit of the Americas Winner - We have a Winnah! - Won their 1st race... Congratulations! June Sprints winner  - June Sprints winner June Sprints winner  - June Sprints winner June Sprints winner  - June Sprints winner June Sprints winner  - June Sprints winner SCCA National Champion - Won SCCA Runoffs at Road America SCCA National Champion - Won SCCA Runoffs at Road America

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Mike Collins

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Congrats...


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