The 2019 Spirit of Mazda award recipient will receive not only the accolade, but a scholarship valued at $2,500. Meet the 20 nominated autocrossers and 20 road racers. Voting begins.
Over the years, some outstanding representatives of the Spirit of Mazda (SoM) have been chosen as recipients of the monthly award. Among them are individuals such as Dave Wheeler and Jim Downing (pictured above).
“This has been our most special award we have,” commented David Cook, business development manager, Mazda Motorsports. “We are fortunate in our industry that we get to work with, year-after-year, truly wonderful people who have built their legacies in this sport. And in one simple moment,” Cook continued, “this sentiment struck me. During the 2016 Mazda Racer Dinner at the SCCA Runoffs, we announced Jim Downing as a most recent Spirit of Mazda award winner. During the dinner, Jim shared stories about how the HANS device came to, among much more. Just after the dinner concluded, Dave Wheeler, a fellow SoM recipient and owner/operator of Advanced Autosports, and I started chatting. I’ll never forget this conversation because of how Dave said it. He turned to me and said, ‘Listening to Mr. Downing tonight, seeing him part of the Spirit of Mazda family, I realized how significant it is to be part of it myself.’ Dave Wheeler was one of the most important and impactful people in our sport. A legend himself. When I saw his emotions and sentiment, I realized we truly had a special family and bond, forged to last forever.”
The Spirit of Mazda award continues, transitioning into an annual one. And with this evolution has come a more significant prize 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.