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Record Star Mazda field set to take on Mid-Ohio
Submitted by Dan Mazzella on Monday, June 21, 2004 - 5:04pm

June 21, 2004. Pacoima, CA. The Star Mazda Series North American Championship presented by Goodyear is set to bring a record field of cars to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this weekend as part of the American Le Mans Series event. While much has been said regarding smaller field sizes in the open-wheel category of motorsports, the Star Mazda Series has continued to grow. 42 of the new Pro Formula Mazdas will be battling on track this weekend in the second round of the championship. Mid-Ohio kicks off a flurry of races over the summer months, with six races being run in a nine-week period.

Adding to the excitement, several high-profile teams will make the jump to Star Mazda competition, bringing with them some talented young drivers. Former ChampCar and Indy Racing League competitor Richie Hearn, has formed Hearn Motorsports and will campaign Brazilian standout Raphael Matos, the 2002 Skip Barber Big Scholarship Winner and 2003 Formula Dodge National Champion for the remainder of the season. Andersen-Walko Racing will also enter the fray, fielding cars for Jonathan Klein and Michael Andersen. Andersen, a 3 time SCCA National Champion; and Klein, a finalist in the Formula Dodge Championship Run-Offs, will join a field full of up-and-coming drivers as they competed for a series prize package totaling over $500,000.

New for 2004, the Pro Formula Mazda features a carbon fiber chassis, six-speed sequential gearbox, and a sealed 240 horsepower Mazda “Renesis” rotary engine as found in the Mazda RX-8. The new Pro Formula Mazda chassis is produced by 2003 and 2004 Indy 500 winning constructor Élan Motorsports Technologies with final assembly being performed by Star Race Cars in California.

The series returns to the Mid Ohio Sports Car Course, after a one-year absence, as part of the American Le Mans Series weekend. 2002 series champion Guy Cosmo, won the 2002 event and has since gone on to find success in sportscars, winning in his Grand-AM Cup debut and finishing on the podium in the 24 Hours of Daytona.

At Sebring in March, Series rookie Daniel DiLeo scored the pole position and the victory in Round One of the championship. Moses Smith and Michael Potekhen joined DiLeo, who hails from Toronto, Canada, on the podium.

The 2004 Star Mazda Series North American Championship presented by Goodyear features ten races across the United States and Canada, nine in support of the American Le Mans Series. All rounds of the championship will be broadcast in the United States on Speed Channel and internationally on Sky Sports network in the United Kingdom. For more information visit www.starmazda.com.

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