Star Mazda Drivers take to the streets of San Jose and Speedring

Wednesday, September 5, 2001. Lunchtime visitors to Caesar Chavez Park in downtown San Jose were greeted to the sights and sounds of the American Le Mans Series competitors in a prelude of the upcoming event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.  Joining the race winning Audi and Panoz prototype cars was the #14 Polycom/Shames Construction Star Mazda of current Star Mazda Series points leader Scott Bradley for a 10 minute “Mini Le Mans” demonstration around the park followed by an autograph session for the gathered fans.

“It was a great opportunity to get out in my hometown and promote the Star Mazda Series and my sponsor Polycom,” Bradley said of the event.  “I always enjoy additional opportunities to get more exposure for Polycom and if we continue to make the effort to promote ourselves we can continue to build interest in the Star Mazda Series as people were very excited to see the car.”

Bradley was also enthusiastic about being able to take his race car out on the city streets from a driving standpoint. “It is every driver’s dream to drive on city streets with the police officers sitting and watching.”  In fact Bradley did make one appearance in front of the gathered law enforcement officers, however, it was in the guise of a photo opportunity.

Following the downtown event Bradley was joined by fellow series drivers Marc De Vellis, Oliver Rowen, Bob Negron and Ed Zabinski at Speedring Indoor  Karting Track for competition between drivers from all the different series, as well as local media and fans. The ALMS series was represented by former Formula One driver Emmanuelle Pirro and Le Mans winning driver Tom Christiansen, Randy Pobst and Justin Bell from the Speedvision GT Series, Porsche driver and former Star Mazda driver Robert Orcutt, as well as competitors in the Speedvision Cup.

The Star Mazda competitors were up to speed quickly and nipping at the heals of the other series drivers with De Vellis, Rowen and Bradley all leading the way.  “It was great to jump back into a go-kart and feel the same sensations that have built my driving foundations,” De Vellis remarked afterwards.  “Since I out qualified and out ran the prototype drivers I’ll be waiting for my test in one of their cars.”

Bradley echoed Marc’s comments regarding the event, adding  “I’m glad that we upheld the honor of the series and showed the other drivers that we could match them for speed, and I think that might have got some of them worked up as De Vellis almost set the track record and I was able to win one heat away from them.”

The Star Mazda competition at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca heats up with qualifying on Saturday, September 8, at 10:00 a.m. and the 45 minute race on Sunday, September 9, at 10:15 a.m.