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RACE: MAZDASPEED announces shootout finalists

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RACE: MAZDASPEED announces shootout finalists
Nov 2, 2009, 5:33 AM

MAZDASPEED Announces Shootout Finalists One Will Earn a Funded Ride in the 2010 Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup November 2, 2009 (Irvine, Calif). The fact that more people road-race Mazdas on any given weekend means that Mazda has a very large ...

MAZDASPEED Announces Shootout Finalists
One Will Earn a Funded Ride in the 2010 Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup

November 2, 2009 (Irvine, Calif). The fact that more people road-race Mazdas on any given weekend means that Mazda has a very large talent pool from which to draw. For the fourth consecutive year, Mazda will assist one talented racer make the leap from club racing to the professional ranks. That racer must demonstrate skills both in the cockpit and in the business arena, proving that they have the total package to succeed. The five finalists for the 2009 shootout are:

* Ryan Ellis, Asburn, Virginia, 2009 NASA Spec Miata Teen Champion (West)

* Nick Evans, Oxford, Ohio, 2009 SCCA Formula Enterprise Champion

* Steven Gorriaran, Providence, Rhode Island, 2009 SCCA Spec Miata Champion

* Bruce Pendleton, Oakland, California, 2009 NASA Performance Touring E Champion

* Andy Rushing, Austin, Texas, 2009 NASA Spec Miata Champion

These five drivers were chosen from an initial group of 13, after a team of nine independent judges -- all motorsports professionals -- reviewed submitted business proposals, and ranked them for their potential ability to master the business side of the sport. The finalists will come together at Buttonwillow Raceway on Tuesday, November 17, where they will be evaluated in a wide variety of categories including lap speed consistency, technical feedback, and business and PR skills.

"In the racing world, speed is critical, but the intention of this program is to see who has the other business talents and communication skills necessary to succeed in motorsports long-term. Our three previous winners, Andrew Caddell, Brad Rampelberg and Justin Piscitell, all proved themselves beyond a shadow of a doubt on the pro level. Our intention is to help support the next up-and-coming talent," noted Steve Sanders, MAZDASPEED Motorsports Competition Manager.

Of the 9,000 enrolled members of the MAZDASPEED Motorsports program, over 200 qualified for either the SCCA Runoffs or the NASA National Championships. Ten Mazda powered racers won championships at those events. Two highly talented teens won a NASA sanctioned Spec Miata teen challenge series, while an additional racer was rated as the best within the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Challenge MX-5 school race series, thus a baker's dozen of 13 were eligible to submit proposals for consideration.

-credit: mazda

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