CHRISTODOULOU WINS 2009 STAR MAZDA CHAMPIONSHIP
CARMEL, CA (October 11, 2009) Powered by VP’s StreetBlaze 100 unleaded racing fuel, English racer Adam Christodoulou won a hard-fought, championship-clinching victory in the Star Mazda series finale at Laguna Seca, securing not only the 2009 Star Mazda series championship but also 'Rookie of the Year,' for which he collected checks for $100,000 and $10,000 respectively. His big prize, however, came in the form of a MAZDASPEED driving suit and helmet symbolizing a full-season sponsorship in the 2010 Atlantic Championship, valued at $750,000. Christodoulou earned his title based on a season record of three wins, two poles and nine podium finishes driving the #11 JDC Motorsports Mazda.
“It’s been an up and down year for me and luckily it ended on an awesome high note,” said Christodoulou. “It’s just unbelievable – you couldn’t have written a TV script about what happened this year. My team has done an awesome job helping me learn all the tracks during my first year racing in America.”
Finishing second, with a record of five wins, five poles and six top-10 finishes, was Peter 'The Irish Steamroller' Dempsey, racing the #3 Juncos Racing / The Collection / Motorsport Ireland / Queyside Mazda. Heading into the season finale at Mazda Raceway, Dempsey was the championship leader and needed to finish only sixth or better to clinch the championship. After qualifying on the pole, Dempsey (who won four Star Mazda races in 2008) was spun out on the first lap by contact from another car, ending his championship hopes. He still collected a check for $70,000 and his attention-getting performance this season makes it highly likely he will advance his career next season.
Finishing third in the championship and collecting a check for $50,000 was Conor Daly, the 2008 Skip Barber Pro Series champion and winner of the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver Development Ladder scholarship that provided funding for his 2009 Star Mazda Championship season at the wheel of the #22 Andersen Racing / College Network / Indeck / Cytomax Mazda. Daly, the son of racing legend Derek Daly, scored one win, one pole and six podium finishes in his rookie season in the Star Mazda Championship. He tested open-wheel cars in Europe between races toward the end of this season and seems firmly on the path to a career in Formula One.
The Star Mazda Championship is a major rung on the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver Development Ladder, the only automaker-supported ladder system in auto racing today that reaches all the way from karting to the top levels of the sport. Star Mazda Championship graduates include Indy Racing League stars Marco Andretti, Graham Rahal and Raphael Matos (the 2005 Star Mazda champion), as well as rising NASCAR stars Michael McDowell (the 2004 series champion) and Colin Braun.