Before 1999, the Star Mazda Series, created by Gary Rodrigues, had several regional championships. With the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) formation, a National division, with backing from the Best Western hotel chain, was established to act as a support series for the ALMS. The inaugural title was won by Joey Hand, who scored five victories in seven starts.

The opening round of the 2003 Star Mazda North American Championship was held at Sebring International Raceway. A month later, drivers competed in the only oval event at Nazareth Speedway. Next, teams made their way to the West Coast for their first of two visits at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Then the series traveled across America to Road Atlanta, followed by another trip to California for a race at Sears Point Raceway. The only stop in Canada took place at Mosport International Raceway on the weekend of August 16-17. Later in the month, the championship was contested at Road America. The teams returned to California for the penultimate round at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The finale took place at Road Atlanta.

In addition to the National Championship, titles were to be won in a Masters class (drivers 45-years of age and older) and seven geographic divisions (West, Southwestern, Eastern, Central, Northwestern, Mountain and Southeastern).

The Star Formula Mazda is constructed by Valley Motor Center. The tube-frame chassis is fitted with shear plates, ensuring quick and easy damage repairs. The car weighs 1140-pounds and is equipped with a Mazda 13B rotary engine and five-speed transmission. The motor, which uses a 48 DCOE carburetor, produces 170-horsepower.

Round one of the Star Mazda Series was held at Sebring International Raceway during the 12-Hours of Sebring weekend. Drivers would compete for sixteen laps around the seventeen-turn 3.7-mile road course.

Series rookie Michael McDowell competed in two events last season. He collected a podium result in his first race at Sears Point. At Sebring International Raceway, McDowell put the No. 11 Valley Motor Center / MMI Kart Team / Mega Metals Star Mazda on the pole and set a new qualifying record. He gave notice in the race that he would be a championship contender by going flag-to-flag for the victory.
After a three-year absence, Mike Potekhen returned to the Star Mazda Series, driving the No. 26 Eurosport / Blue Valley Ski Rentals Star Mazda. He recorded the third-fastest time in the qualifying session. At the start of the race, Potekhen passed Jamie Bach for second-place. He came under pressure from Bach until Bach retired on lap-10. Potekhen would finish in the runner-up position by a margin of 7.2-seconds.
Qualifying just 0.15-seconds behind the pole-sitter, Michael McDowell, was a fellow rookie and last yearís 2002 SCCA Formula Mazda National Champion, Jamie Bach. Bach piloted the No. 34 B-K Motorsports / Mazdaspeed / Dell Star Mazda. He found himself in a tight battle with Mike Potekhen for second place during the race. Unfortunately, Bachís race came to an end on lap-10 when a lower control arm broke.
Series veteran Moses Smith finished second in last seasonís Star Mazda championship by a single point. His record included four victories, two of which were earned in the final contests of the year. In 2003, he drove the No. 76 Team Tomlin / Hasa Pool Products Star Mazda. Smith found himself in a battle with John Olsen for the third position in the race. He would prevail and collect the final spot on the podium.
The No. 31 Star Mazda was prepared by Team Bucknam with backing from Piloti, DVS Shoe Company and Rotary Rockets was driven by John Olsen. 2003 would be his second year in the series. Last season, he finished eleventh in the final standings, with his best result being a sixth at Washington. At Sebring International Raceway, Olsen fought for third with Moses Smith but would finish in the fourth position.
Mike Anderson campaigned the No. 42 DARE, HASA Pool Products sponsored Star Mazda. Anderson was one of the pre-season favourites, but issues during the qualifying session at Sebring International meant he had to start from the rear of the grid. However, in the race, he charged through the thirty-three car field and after sixteen laps, Anderson crossed the finish line in fifth and recorded the fastest lap.

FINISHNO.DRIVERCARLAPSRETIREMENTS
111Michael McDowellStar Mazda16-
226Mike PotekhenStar Mazda16-
376Moses SmithStar Mazda16-
431John OlsenStar Mazda16-
542Mike AndersonStar Mazda16-
629Alan RudolphStar Mazda16-
727James GougharyStar Mazda16-
843Glenn CooperStar Mazda16-
922Ryan JusticeStar Mazda16-
1028Pierre EhretStar Mazda16-
1147Michael StephensStar Mazda16-
1223Tom NastasiStar Mazda16-
1344John FaulknerStar Mazda16-
1446Luis SchiavoStar Mazda16-
155Scott KusyStar Mazda16-
1617Dick DownsStar Mazda16-
1756Dan Tomlin IIIStar Mazda16-
1865Richard MatthewsStar Mazda16-
1913Jack WillesStar Mazda16-
2032Steve CookStar Mazda16-
2133Rick WaddellStar Mazda16-
2224Jon BrownsonStar Mazda16-
2388Dan WeylandStar Mazda16-
2455Anthony DownsStar Mazda16-
2558Dan Tomlin, Jr.Star Mazda15-
2672Ginni SwantonStar Mazda13Did Not Finish
2734Jamie BachStar Mazda10Did Not Finish
2840John IntileStar Mazda10Did Not Finish
2977Brian ThienesStar Mazda3Did Not Finish
3060Grant LockwoodStar Mazda1Did Not Finish
3193Ian HendersonStar Mazda0Did Not Finish
3239Donnie IsleyStar Mazda0Did Not Finish

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