April Spirit of Mazda Nominees

Ten outstanding Mazda racers and aficionados await your vote for Spirit of Mazda

From racers to mechanics to race workers, there are many people in motorsports who embody the Spirit of Mazda. Mazda Motorsports seeks to recognize those who go above and beyond in their quest to be the best they can be. 

The Spirit of Mazda has seven basic principles. They are:

  • Integrity – We keep acting with integrity toward our customers, society and our own work.
  • Basics/Flawless Execution – We devote ourselves to the basics, and make steady efforts in a step-by-step fashion.
  • Continuous Kaizen – We continue to improve with wisdom and ingenuity.
  • Challenger Spirit – We set a high goal, and keep challenging to achieve it.
  • Self Initiative – We think and act with “self initiative.”
  • Tomoiku – We learn and teach each other for our mutual growth and success.
  • One Mazda – We think and act with the view of “Global” and “One Mazda.”

The nominees for the April Spirit of Mazda award are:

Lee Stanley
Buccaneer Region grid worker Stanley loves working pit lane and grid because he likes having the face-to-face connection with the drivers. He drives an ND Miata on the road.

Chris Graham
In 2014, Chris Graham became the owner of Race Engineering, one of the largest builders of Spec Miata and other racing engines in the country. Prior to that, he built engines for 20 years and was an IT specialist at an automotive OEM. He’s made it his business to build relationships as much as engines.

Bret de Pedro
De Pedro is the owner of RP Performance Racing, a prep shop specializing in Spec Miata that’s located at West Virginia’s Summit Point Raceway. He has been a longtime competitor in Mazdas, starting in ITA before he helped bring Spec RX-7 to Washington DC Region. He was also one of the first to race in Spec Miata in the region. He has also recently competed in the SVRA Miata Heritage Cup.

Chris Windsor
Windsor is the owner of Windsor Customs, a prep shop specializing in Spec Miata. He began his business 15 years ago helping one racer, and it has ballooned into one of the bigger prep shop operations in the Mid-Atlantic. His team has also competed in MX-5 Cup with Forrest and Sebastian Landy.

Steve Bertok
Bertok is the president and co-owner of Panic Motorsports, a prep shop specializing in Spec Miata and other Mazda racecars. But he’s not only the company’s president, he’s also the lead mechanic and driving instructor. Bertok has competed in autocross and Spec Miata, including a victory in the 13 Hour Charge of the Headlight Brigade endurance race at VIRginia International Raceway.

Rob Greenwood
Greenwood is the crew chief for Spec Miata powerhouse BSI Racing in Florida. He is a racer himself who also autocrosses with his son.

Don Knowles
Don Knowles is one of the winningest racers in showroom-stock type racing in America, and for the past few years has been competing in SCCA Touring 4 in an RX-8, winning the Southeast Conference championship in 2017. A former Associate Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, Knowles was the 2011 recipient of the Road Racing Drivers Club Bob Akin award. He is also an accomplished writer and longtime contributor to SportsCar magazine, producing many of the magazine’s much-loved “Hot Laps” articles.

Doug Mockett
Fans of open-wheel racing, especially in the Mazda Road to Indy, have seen Mockett’s name. He started his architectural hardware company in a California garage and it has grown into not only an industry leader, but a supporter of up-and-coming racers. He has backed Spencer Pigot and is currently supporting Colton Herta in Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires. He also has an impressive collection of vintage race cars that he enjoys driving.

Bryan Ortiz
Trying to succeed in one professional racing series is tough enough, but trying to do it in two, even if it is in essentially the same car, adds another dimension. Bryan Ortiz just missed out on winning Rookie of the Year in Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich® Tires in 2017, so this year he is not only pursuing that overall series championship, but he’s adding the Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car A title in a MX-5 Cup car to his goals. He’s off to a good start, too as he won the opening race of the 2018 MX-5 Cup season at Circuit of the Americas in March.

Danny Bender
Danny Bender is a Mazda salesman, and one of the most successful in the country. He is also a Mazda racer, and an exceptional one at that. He won the 2014 SCCA National Championship Runoffs in Touring 4 and has also won in MX-5 Cup and in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge driving a Freedom Autosport MX-5.

Ready to vote? Go here. Look for a feature on the winner on MazdaMotorsports.com in the near future.