St. Petersburg, Fla. (October 26, 2020) – After an intense season that ended just 92 days after it started, it was a pressure filled and action packed final day of the 2020 Global Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich® Tires season with two races to determine the championship on Saturday. And to cap off the day, the paddock population packed up, made a quick change of clothes, and headed to the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg to celebrate the season and honor the champions.
But there was more than just a Championship trophy to hand out following the conclusion of the Mazda MX-5 Cup season; numerous drivers, teams and crews were recognized Saturday evening not just for performance, but also for important contributions to the series.Mazda has shown unwavering dedication to supporting the career progress of those who challenge their way to the front, and the annual season celebration marked another chapter of that legacy as Michael Carter (No. 08 Carter Racing Enterprises) took home the top prize as Champion: a $200,000 career advancement scholarship from Mazda.
The payouts continued for runner up Robert Noaker (No. 13 Robert Noaker Racing / Slipstream Performance) who took home $60,000, Selin Rollan (No. 87 Spark Performance) earned $25,000 for third, Jared Thomas (No. 96 Carter Racing Enterprises) received $13,500 for fourth and Gresham Wagner (No. 5 Spark Performance) collected $10,000 for fifth.
It was a big night for Carter Racing Enterprises. In addition to his fourth-place earnings, Thomas was named Rookie of the Year and received an additional $75,000 scholarship from Mazda for the 2021 MX-5 Cup season. With both the Champion and the Rookie of the Year on its’ roster, it’s no wonder Carter Racing Enterprises was crowned Team Champions as well.Performance on track isn’t the only attribute recognized by the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup, a team’s professional appearance and attitude were also recognized. The VP Racing Fuels “Clean Image Award” is given to the team that best demonstrates these qualities, and this year it went to Maverick, owned by Bryan Hixon (No. 63 Maverick) and managed by Shea Holbrook.
At the conclusion of each MX-5 Cup season, the Spirit of Mazda Award is given to someone in the community who best embodies the seven principles of Mazda: integrity, flawless execution, continuous Kaizen, the challenger spirit, self-initiative, Tomoiku, and the view of One Mazda. This year the award went to long-time MX-5 Cup racer, Luke Oxner (No. 77 White Racing).The drivers won’t even make it to the grid without their mechanics, nor would they pass technical inspection. For this year’s Mechanic of the Year, the MX-5 Cup technical staff chose Kevin Stelly from Slipstream Performance.
The one and only award voted on by MX-5 Cup fans is the Mazda “Move of the Year.” Nominees were posted to the MX-5 Cup Facebook page a week prior to the finale and the public at large could vote on their favorite. Selin Rollan’s pass on the outside of Turn 12 at Road America was this year’s winner.
All together more than $430,000 was awarded on Saturday evening.
The full 2021 Global Mazda MX-5 Cup calendar will be released this week, and is anticipated to include a season-opener at Daytona International Speedway, just 94 days from today. But as the teams, organizers, and drivers have shown in 2020, they are already ready for what is next.About: The Global Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich® Tires is the signature spec series for the Mazda Road to 24 (#MRT24). Mazda-powered grassroots champions earn a Mazda scholarship to advance their career. The Global Mazda MX-5 Cup champion earns a $200,000 scholarship.
Find out more at http://www.mx-5cup.com.