November 13, 2000
To All FM Racers:
Formula Mazda racing just gets better and better. The end of the tenth season of the Star Mazda Series continues the trend. There were 43 entries (a new TV Series record) and 42 starters (tied the record) at Las Vegas. We hope you see it on Speedvision Monday, November 13th. Drivers in the Best Western Championship will be sent a copy of all the Series Speedvision shows this year, before Christmas. We are also catching up with those who have not yet gotten copies of their in-car camera tapes. We are still smoothing out procedures with the TV production folks, but it is getting better.
The awards banquet at Circus Circus went well, we think, considering the rush to finish the scoring after a late scheduled race, and to calculate and distribute the checks and trophies only three hours later. Congratulations to Bernardo Martinez for a well-earned Best Western Championship! The talent pool was very deep this year and several drivers are close to deals to move up. We wish them success. We consider one of our prime objectives to be to showcase rising talent and, hopefully, to help launch professional driving careers. You make us proud.
During the banquet, Tom Milner stopped just short of announcing the results of last year’s test. What he said was last year’s Star Mazda Champion, Joey Hand, had since tested more than once with BMW’s Team PTG and, regarding Joey driving for the team in 2001, “Don’t bet against it.” At this moment, Joey is racing in England since winning a spot on Team USA (Palmer-Audi). Joey is also one of a few Star Mazda racers testing with various Pro Atlantic teams for deals for next season.
At the banquet, we alerted all West Coast Series drivers that, in an effort to help FM racers keep all options open, at least four SCCA Nationals are planned within the West Division. Starting with the Arizona Region Double National January 12-15, 2001, we will have separate run groups for FM. That way the Series and Nationals are the same race and count both for Series prizes and toward qualification for the Runoffs. We are shooting for Thanksgiving to have the whole West Division schedule ready to publish.
Reminder: The roll bar mod that was optional for 2000 is mandatory starting January 1, 2001, for all FMs, Club or Pro. We also suggest you consider replacing all critical rod ends during the winter break. We know it costs as much as a set of tires, but not replacing one weakened rod end could cost more in damage and maybe get someone hurt. If you haven’t kept a log, aging each rod end, and cannot exactly remember how many berms you clipped and how many high-speed “offs” you (or your drivers) had, it is pretty inexpensive insurance. Check with your FM dealer; he may be running a “winter special” on the popular sizes.
A recap of the Best Western and West Division driver payouts is attached. This comes to roughly $185,000 cash, plus a new 2001 Miata, BBS wheels, Goodyear tires, Best Western rooms, Bosch spark plugs, BMW/PTG test, Worldspeed FA test, Star Race Cars FA tests, Red Line Oil products, VP fuel and other prizes, totaling approximately $275,000 value returned to Series drivers. When the other Star Mazda Series’ around the country and the rest of the Runoffs prizes are added in, the grand total is about $400,000! We think 2001 will be even better.
Thanks to all the sponsors, drivers, crews and officials for making Y2K great. We will keep you posted on developments during the holidays. God bless. See you at the races next year!
Gary E. Rodrigues