Mazda Announces 2019 Spirit of Mazda Award Finalists

The 2019 Spirit of Mazda Award is up for grabs, and so is $2500 to put towards racing efforts (Mazda competition or stock parts, SCCA or NASA entry fees, and Hoosier or Toyo Tires) for the 2020 racing season for six finalists. Through numerous entries, Mazda first narrowed the list down to 40 semifinalists—20 autocrosses and 20 auto racers—and then narrowed that list down to six finalists.

Read the press release below to learn how they decided on the finalists, and who the finalists are:

2019 SPIRIT OF MAZDA AWARD FINALISTS

The 2019 Spirit of Mazda award recipient will receive not only the accolade, but a scholarship valued at $2,500. Meet the 6 finalists.

Over the years, some outstanding representatives of the Spirit of Mazda have been chosen as recipients of the monthly award. The award, however, has transitioned into an annual one. And with this evolution has come a more significant award for the recipient. 

The 2019 Spirit of Mazda award recipient’s prize: The overall winner will receive a $2,500 Mazda scholarship towards 2020 racing purposes. These funds can be used for any combination of Mazda competition or stock parts, SCCA or NASA entry fees, and Hoosier or Toyo Tires. In addition, the recipient will receive the 2019 Spirit of Mazda jacket.

The nomination process: Racers and team members recommended numerous deserving racers for the award throughout 2019 to Mazda Motorsports. Working through these recommendations, Mazda Motorsports selected 20 brand advocates from the autocross community and 20 from road racing as 2019 Spirit of Mazda nominees.

The voting process and timeline to determine finalists and the overall recipient:
•    To select the six finalists: The two groups of nominees were kept separate at this first stage; voting commenced on Friday, January 3, and concluded end of day Wednesday, January 7, 2020.
•    To select the overall 2019 Spirit of Mazda award recipient: The top three vote-getters within each group have moved into one group of six finalists; voting commences today, Friday, January 9, 2020 and will conclude end of day Wednesday, January 15, 2020. The survey to vote was sent via the Mazda Motorsports email at approximately 5:15 am PT on Friday, January 10.

The seven principles to consider when you vote for a Spirit of Mazda finalist:
•    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.”

Meet the six finalists (alphabetical order):

Steve Hudson, 2018 Solo Cup award winner, based in the Lone Star Region. Considered one of the most kind and welcoming people, Steve inspires others with his Challenger Spirit to keep improving his race craft, and those around him. “He is the type of guy who would lend a hand no matter what,” commented Tara Johns, fellow autocrosser and a Spirit of Mazda award recipient. He simply makes others genuinely happy when they see him at events.

Glenn Long, factotum, Statesville, NC. Glenn has done everything from driving his own race car in club racing early in his career, to putting lifelong IBM career skills to great use by building a team to develop and build Mazda’s first homologated turnkey race cars – the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup cars. “Glenn has accomplished all of what he has while supporting not only his son Tom Long’s racing career, but countless others, including my own,” said Andrew Carbonell, Mazda factory driver.” Mazda and so many others are privileged to have worked with Glenn Long.

Eric Stoltz, SCCA first-gen Miata racers in Street Touring Sport. From Buhl, Idaho, Eric won the SCCA Solo Championship Tour in 2019 in STS, and won his first Solo Nationals Championship. According to Ron Bauer, Mazda factory driver, Eric’s work ethic to make his car the best it can be and his constant honing of his driving skills have led to one of the most well rounded autocrossers in the sport.

Jared Thomas, NASA & SCCA Spec Miata racer, and 2019 Mazda Road to 24 scholarship winner. A second-generation racer, Jared’s career began when he received his first racing kart on his 5th birthday in 2002. 10 years later, he took the opportunity to pilot a 500hp pavement late model, which began a new learning curve for the next four years. In 2017, he turned to Spec Miata, which is where he built respect among his peers behind the wheel, under the car, and through his integrity. Currently, a senior at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) majoring in Motorsports Engineering. “Jared is one of the most well-rounded club racers we have seen,” commented David Cook, business development manager for Mazda Motorsports. As a result, he is preparing to make a run at the 2020 Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires.

Rob Warkocki, SCCA, third-gen RX-7 GT-3 racer. In 2013, Rob won the SCCA GT-3 National Championship at the 50thAnniversary Runoffs at Road America in the race car he built almost two decades earlier. Whether it’s his assistance revitalizing the GT-3 community through his leadership and counsel to Mazda for the GT3 Challenge presented by MPI, or his nature to point out all those who helped him and are the ones, he says, who are the real experts in the community, Rob is as humble, giving, kind and generous as we have in this sport – even though he will say others are more so.

Randall Wilcox, SCCA autocrosser. Randall drove Spirit of Mazda award recipient’s, Eric Anderson, Miata to the Super Street Modified SCCA autocross title in 2017, claiming his first national championship. Wilcox started autocrossing 18 years ago in an H Stock car. He ran his own cars for a few years, then started co-driving with other people. Through these efforts, Randall has built a reputation for always pushing the car for all it’s worth. “Not only he is very fast, but Randall is very diligent with reviewing video and data from the runs with others so that improvements could be made each run,” commented Deana Kelley, a Spirit of Mazda recipient.

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