Prior to 1999, the Star Mazda Series, created by Gary Rodrigues, had a number of regional championships.
With the formation of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), a National division, with backing from the Best Western hotel chain,
was established to act as a support series for the ALMS.
The inaugural championship was won by Joey Hand, who scored five victories in seven starts.
The 2000 Best Western Star Mazda Championship started on the last weekend of March at Lowes Motor Speedway. For round two, the series traveled to the west coast for an event at Sears Point Raceway. Next, teams made their only stop in Canada at Mosport International Raceway. Three race weekends were held in September, starting with Texas Motor Speedway and followed by contests at Portland International Raceway and Road Atlanta. The penultimate round was held at Laguna Seca Raceway, with the finale taking place during the last weekend of October at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
In addition to the National Championship, there were titles to be won in a Masters class (drivers 45-years of age and older) and five geographic divisions (West, Southwestern, Eastern, Northwestern and Northeastern).
The Star Formula Mazda is constructed by Valley Motor Center. The tube-frame chassis is fitted with shear plates, which ensure relatively 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.
The penultimate round of the 2000 Best Western Star Mazda Championship was conducted at Laguna Seca Raceway. Drivers would compete for twenty-six-laps around the eleven-turn 2.238-mile road course.
|As the result of victories at Mosport International Raceway and Texas Motor Speedway, Grant Ryley entered round seven at Laguna Seca Raceway third in the title chase. Ryley recorded the fifth-fastest time in the qualifying session at Laguna Seca. During the race, he moved into contention, getting by Bernardo Martinez on lap-16. On the final circuit, lapped traffic allowed Ryley to get by Jason LaPoint for the win.|
|At Laguna Seca, Jason LaPoint was well-positioned to earn his first series victory of the season. LaPoint put the No. 11 Thrasher Skateboard / Trackmagic Karts Star Mazda on the pole. Early in the contest, he was able to hold off challenges from the points leader, Bernardo Martinez. LaPoint faced a new pursuer after Martinez was passed by Grant Ryley. Ryley used lapped track to relegate LaPoint to a second-place finish.|
|The championship points leader, entering round seven at Laguna Seca, by a margin of forty-markers, was Bernardo Martinez. Martinez scored victories at Lowes Motor Speedway and Road Atlanta. He was second fastest in qualifying, driving the No. 25 3-Dimensional Services Star Mazda. Martinez was unable to get by the pole-sitter, Jason LaPoint, and was passed by a hard-charging Grant Ryley to finish third during the race.|
|To date, the highlight of Bryan Selby’s Best Western Star Mazda Championship season was a pole position in round one at Lowes Motor Speedway and a fifth-place finish at Mosport International Raceway. However, Selby was also participating in the series West Division and led the standings. Selby set the sixth quickest time during time trials at Laguna Seca and finished fourth in the twenty-six-lap contest.|
|Another driver collecting championship points in the West Division was Matt Beardsley. Beardsley grabbed a win in round two at Sears Point Raceway but trailed the leader, Bryan Selby. Beardsley, piloting the No. 12 Alpine Bank sponsored Star Mazda, qualified ninth fastest at Laguna Seca Raceway. He chased his archrival, Selby, to a fifth-place finish. With one race remaining, Beardsley trailed Selby by seventeen-points.|
|Throughout the year, Alex Figge was fast in qualifying. Unfortunately, the same could not be said about his race results until round five at Portland International Raceway. At Portland, it appeared that Figge’s season turned around after he qualified third and claimed his first series victory. In the next race, Figge started fourth and finished fifth. In the penultimate event, he qualified third but failed to finish.|
|FINISH||START||DRIVER||SPONSOR / CAR||LAPS||RETIREMENTS|
|1||5||Grant Ryley||World Speed Motorsports / Star Mazda||26||-|
|2||1||Jason LaPoint||Valley Motor Center / Star Mazda||26||-|
|3||2||Bernardo Martinez||Team Bucknum Racing / Star Mazda||26||-|
|4||6||Bryan Selby||Team Bucknum Racing / Star Mazda||26||-|
|5||9||Matt Beardsley||Valley Motor Center / Star Mazda||26||-|
|6||12||Scott Bradley||World Speed Motorsports / Star Mazda||26||-|
|7||4||Scott Jenkins||Jenkins Racing / Star Mazda||26||-|
|8||8||David Sterenberg||Star Mountain Racing / Star Mazda||26||-|
|9||14||Pierre Ehret||Team Bucknum Racing / Star Mazda||26||-|
|10||13||Mike Potekhen||Star Mountain Racing / Star Mazda||26||-|
|11||17||Doug Peterson||Formula Cars East / Star Mazda||26||-|
|12||10||Chris McMurry||Team Bucknum Racing / Star Mazda||26||-|
|13||19||Moses Smith||Star Mountain Racing / Star Mazda||26||-|
|14||18||Scott Kusy||Team Bucknum Racing / Star Mazda||26||-|
|15||25||Will Hill||Valley Motor Center / Star Mazda||26||-|
|16||24||Bob Hatle||R.H. Racing / Star Mazda||26||-|
|17||7||Chantz Wade||World Speed Motorsports / Star Mazda||26||-|
|18||21||Michael Choquette||Choquette Racing / Star Mazda||26||-|
|19||22||Dick Downs||Eurosports Racing / Star Mazda||26||-|
|20||15||Matt Downs||Eurosports Racing / Star Mazda||26||-|
|21||28||Bryan Willman||Team Bucknum Racing / Star Mazda||26||-|
|22||30||David Lewis||Lewis Racing / Star Mazda||26||-|
|23||26||Tom Mabey||Rocky Mountain Motorsports / Star Mazda||26||-|
|24||33||Ray Neveau||Valley Motor Center / Star Mazda||25||-|
|25||16||Bob Negron||Raceland / Star Mazda||25||-|
|26||31||Taylor Fletcher||Bullet Racing Team / Star Mazda||25||-|
|27||34||Rick Waddell||World Speed Motorsports / Star Mazda||25||-|
|28||29||Ginni Swanton||Team Bucknum Racing / Star Mazda||24||-|
|29||32||Larry Couture||Team Hope Racing / Star Mazda||24||-|
|30||11||Chad Block||Valley Motor Center / Star Mazda||24||-|
|31||27||Dave McMillan||Sports Car Ltd / Star Mazda||24||-|
|32||3||Alex Figge||World Speed Motorsports / Star Mazda||17||Not Running|
|33||20||Dan Weyland||Eurosport Racing / Star Mazda||12||Not Running|
|34||23||Tom Nastasi||Light Speed / Star Mazda||8||Not Running|
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