PRIZE FUND VALUED AT $1.5 MILLION DISTRIBUTED DURING POST-RACE AWARDS CEREMONY FOR 2009 STAR MAZDA CHAMPIONSHIP PRESENTED BY GOODYEAR Chateau St. Julien / Carmel, CA -- Hours after concluding the 2009 season in the most dramatic fashion...
PRIZE FUND VALUED AT $1.5 MILLION DISTRIBUTED DURING POST-RACE AWARDS CEREMONY FOR 2009 STAR MAZDA CHAMPIONSHIP PRESENTED BY GOODYEAR
Chateau St. Julien / Carmel, CA -- Hours after concluding the 2009 season in the most dramatic fashion possible, with a hard-fought, championship-clinching victory by English racer Adam Christodoulou, drivers, teams, crew and officials of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear gathered at the Chateau St. Julien winery in the scenic Carmel Valley for the Series awards presentation ceremony.In addition to the fully-sponsored ride in the 2010 Atlantic Championship won by the Series champion, the $575,000 in cash and prizes presented to the top-15 finishers and various other prizes awarded both at the ceremony and on a race-by-race basis during the season, the 2009 Star Mazda Championship prize fund totaled $1.5 million.
The Top-3 Finishers / $971,000 total
Christodoulou, with a season record of three wins, two poles and nine podium finishes driving the #11 JDC Motorsports / Molecule / Alpinestars / Miller Milling Company Mazda, won not only the series championship but also 'Rookie of the Year' and collected checks for $100,000 and $10,000 respectively. He also collected a $1,000 check for being the top-finishing driver participating in the Racing for Kids program, with the presentation made by RFK public relations director Ron Hingst. An equal amount was donated to the children's hospital of Christodoulou's choice.
His big prize, valued at $750,000, came in the form of the ceremonial presentation of a MAZDASPEED driving suit and helmet that symbolizes a full-season sponsorship in the 2010 Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda. Christodoulou will test with several Atlantic teams and an announcement concerning his 2010 plans will be made in coming weeks.
The Star Mazda Championship is a major rung on the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver Development Ladder, the only automaker-supported ladder system in auto racing today that reaches all the way from karting to the top levels of the sport. 2008 Star Mazda champion John Edwards won the 2009 Atlantic Championship in the season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.JStar Mazda Championship graduates also include Indy Racing League stars Marco Andretti, Graham Rahal and Raphael Matos (the 2005 Star Mazda champion), as well as rising NASCAR stars Michael McDowell (the 2004 series champion) and Colin Braun. 2007 champion Dane Cameron currently races full-time in the #30 Racers Edge Mazda RX-8 GT1 car.
Finishing second, with a record of five wins, five poles and six top-10 finishes, was Peter 'The Irish Steamroller' Dempsey, racing the #3 Juncos Racing / The Collection / Motorsport Ireland / Queyside.ie Mazda.JHeading into the season finale at Mazda Raceway, Dempsey was the championship leader and needed finish only sixth or better to clinch the championship. After qualifying on the pole, Dempsey (who won four Star Mazda races in 2008) was spun out on the first lap by contact from another car, ending his championship hopes. He still collected a check for $70,000 and his attention-getting performance this season makes it highly likely he will advance his career next season.
Finishing third in the championship and collecting a check for $50,000 was Conor Daly, the 2008 Skip Barber Pro Series champion and winner of the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver Development Ladder scholarship that provided funding for his 2009 Star Mazda Championship season at the wheel of the #22 Andersen Racing / College Network / Indeck / Cytomax Mazda.JDaly, the son of racing legend Derek Daly, scored one win, one pole and six podium finishes in his rookie season in the Star Mazda Championship.JHe tested open-wheel cars in Europe between races toward the end of this season and seems firmly on the path to a career in Formula One.
It's also worth noting that the two young Americans who won the Team USA Scholarship to race in England's prestigious Formula Ford Festival and Walter Hayes Trophy in coming weeks -- Skip Barber Pro Series champion Connor De Phillippi and Jim Russell Championship racer Bret Smrz -- are driving cars fielded by Cliff Dempsey Racing (Peter Dempsey's father). De Phillippi will race in the Star Mazda Championship in 2010 with backing from the MAZDASPEED Ladder program.
4th through 15th-place finishers/ $296,500 total
More than 35 drivers participated in one or more Star Mazda Championship races during the 2009 season, with a top field of 33 cars (a number equaled only by the Indy 500) in Round 3 at Miller Motorsports Park. The Series pays prize money down to 15th place in the points, including;
4th / $40,000 -- Alex Ardoin driving the #51 JDC Motorsports / Oral & Facial Surgery Center / Twister Trailer Mazda (one win, five podiums, six top-5s and ten top-10s)
5th / $35,000 -- Joel Miller driving the #2 Andersen Racing / Doug Mockett & Co. / Allied Interior Products Mazda (three podiums, seven top-5s, nine top-10s)
vth / $30,000 -- Anders Krohn driving the #27 Mundill / Trallfa / Colosseum Mazda (one win, one podium, three top-5s and nine top-10s)
7th / $27,000 -- Richard Kent driving the #33 Andersen Racing / Traka Allied Interior Products Mazda (two wins, four poles, two podiums, six top-5s and nine top-10s)
8th / $25,000 -- Caio Lara driving the #19 JDC Motorsports / MLD / ATW/ Molecule Mazda (four top-5s, eleven top-10s. He also won the VP Fuel "Most Improved Driver Award" worth an additional $5,000)
9th / $22,500 -- Jorge Goncalvez driving the #72 AIM Autosport / Mazda (three top-5s, seven top-10s)
10th / $20,000 -- Michael Furfari driving the #13 Team Mundill / Furfari Paving Mazda (eight top-10s)
11th / $18,000 -- Denis Navarro driving the #21 Andersen Racing / Navarro Medicines Distribution / Allied Interior Products Mazda (eight top-10s)
12th / $16,000 -- Rusty Mitchell driving the #66 Mitchell Motorsports / Motorola Mazda (one pole, one podium, two top-5, four top-10s. He also won the Quartermaster "Clutch Performer Award" worth an additional $5,000)
13th / $14,000 -- David Ostella driving the #71 AIM Autosport/Global Precast Mazda (one podium, six top-10s)
14th / $12,000 -- Toshihiro Deki driving the #80 Juncos Racing /D-Techniques Mazda (five top-15s, nine top-20s, three in-class victories in the Expert Series (drivers 30-44 years old). He also won the BBS "Hard Charger Award" worth $5,000 and was second in the Expert Series for an additional $5,000)
15th / $10,000 -- Kevin Toledo driving the #77 Eliseo THL Mazda (two top-10s, ten top-20s)
Experts and Masters / $35,000 total