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 November Spirit of Mazda award are:
Al Angulo is a Spec Miata racer and owner of A+ Racing, a prep shop in Northern California. But it’s his other job that has earned him a place on this list: auto shop teacher at Placer Union High School District. In that role, he not only teaches students to build Spec Miatas, but field them in races such as the NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill.
Bertok is the president and co-owner of Panic Motorsports, a prep shop specializing in Spec Miatas and other Mazda racecars. He is the lead mechanic and driving instructor for Panic. He 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.
When James Brown’s son passed away, he helped another racer get started in the Teen Mazda Challenge (TMC). When TMC lost its founder, Ron Cortez, Brown picked up the mantle and carried TMC into the future with the help of Mazda, NASA and Tim Barber. Now TMC is thriving with more contingency for young Spec Miata racers than ever before.
Zane Dexter became interested in racing when Motorsport Park Hastings was built near his Central City, Neb., home. Since then he has raised three sons – Dillon, Warren and Ryan – in karting and into Spec Miata, often managing to get all three of his sons on track at the same time. Warren just won the Trans Am Series TA4 class championship in a Ginetta.
After winning the 2012 SCCA Formula Enterprises National Championship, Patrick Gallagher has parlayed winning the 2012 Mazda Club Racer shootout into a 2016 Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car championship and a 2017 Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup title (not to mention the big prize in the year-end Challenge). For 2018, Gallagher used his Mazda scholarship money in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, where he won at Watkins Glen with Chad McCumbee.
Young Hannah Grisham has been racing Spec Miata in the NASA Teen Mazda Challenge with the help of James Brown and Robert Davis Racing. She did well in the SoCal Region and finished third of the Teen Mazda Challenge competitors at the NASA Nationals, 17th overall. She also earned an invitation to the 2018 Mazda Road to 24 Shootout.
Todd Lamb has long been competing in various forms of Spec Miata, from club racing to MX-5 Cup, winning a pair of Spec Miata championships and the 2009 MX-5 Cup title along the way. He now runs ATL Speedwerks along with the Spec MX-5 Challenge Series. He serves on SCCA’s Spec Miata Advisory Committee and was instrumental in the recent process to choose a new shock for SM.
Glenn McGee turned winning an iRacing MX-5 Cup championship into a real-world ride in the Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich® Tires by winning the 2015 MRT24 Shootout. Despite having little real track experience previously, he earned a Idemitsu Hard Charger award in his first race and scored several top-10 finishes, ending the season 11th in the standings.
Loni Unser has a lot to live up to thanks to her last name, and so far the Spec Miata and World Racing League endurance racer has done well. Yes, she’s related to the famous racing family – grandfather Jerry Jr. is the brother of Al and Bobby Unser – but she started racing only recently and has had to make it on her own accomplishments. Those accomplishments earned her an invite to the 2018 Road to 24 Shootout.
Stacy Wilson has been racing in GT-3 since 1990, and won the 2016 SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Mid-Ohio in his second-generation RX-7. He’s managed to make the most out of a little, and has jumped on board for the GT-3 Challenge, which had its first race at the American Road Race of Champions last month (Wilson finished second).
Go here now to cast your vote!