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 final round of the 2000 Best Western Star Mazda Championship was held at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Drivers would compete for twenty-eight-laps around the 2.52-mile ‘roval’ layout.
|The front row for the finale of the 2000 Best Western Star Mazda Championship at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. On the pole is Bernardo Martinez in the No. 25 3-Dimensional Services Star Mazda. Martinez would finish third in the race. More importantly, he would capture the crown by collecting podium results in all but one event. Gridded in second place for the twenty-eight-lap contest is Grant Ryley.|
|Before the final round, David Sterenberg’s best result was a pair of fourth-place finishes earned at Texas Motor Speedway and Portland International Raceway. During the qualifying session at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Sterenberg recorded the third-fastest time. On lap-5 of the race, the leader, Grant Ryley, slid wide on some oil dry and Sterenberg grabbed first place. He held on to the top spot all the way to the checkered flag.|
|Grant Ryley entered the finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway second in the title chase – thirty-six points behind the leader Bernardo Martinez. Ryley qualified second fastest in the No. 14 Cupertino Electric / Del Monaco Specialty Foods Star Mazda. In the race, he passed Martinez on the lap-5 restart for first place. But four turns later, Ryley slid wide and fell to fourth place. He charged back for a runner-up finish.|
|Leading the field into the corner one chicane at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is the No. 14 Star Mazda of Grant Ryley. Ryley grabbed first place on the lap-5 restart. Behind him is Jason LaPoint in the No. 11 Star Mazda, who would finish fourth. Obscured by Ryley and LaPoint are David Sterenberg and Bernardo Martinez. Sterenberg would capture his first series victory and Martinez would clinch the championship.|
|The only female in the series was Kirkland, Washington’s Ginni Swanton. Swanton drove the No. 72 Speedware sponsored Star Mazda prepared by Team Bucknum Racing. She completed in all eight rounds. Her best qualifying effort was at Lowes Motor Speedway, where she started twenty-third and Swanton’s best finish was nineteenth on the same track. A shifter issue at Laguna Seca resulted in her only DNF.|
|FINISH||START||DRIVER||SPONSOR / CAR||LAPS||RETIREMENTS|
|1||3||David Sterenberg||Star Mountain Racing / Star Mazda||28||-|
|2||2||Grant Ryley||World Speed Motorsports / Star Mazda||28||-|
|3||1||Bernardo Martinez||Team Bucknum Racing / Star Mazda||28||-|
|4||4||Jason LaPoint||Valley Motor Center / Star Mazda||28||-|
|5||5||Scott Bradley||World Speed Motorsports / Star Mazda||28||-|
|6||10||Chris McMurry||Team Bucknum Racing / Star Mazda||28||-|
|7||7||Bryan Selby||Team Bucknum Racing / Star Mazda||28||-|
|8||16||Scott Kusy||Team Bucknum Racing / Star Mazda||28||-|
|9||11||Mike Potekhen||Star Mountain Racing / Star Mazda||28||-|
|10||22||Doug Peterson||Formula Cars East / Star Mazda||28||-|
|11||15||Bob Negron||Raceland / Star Mazda||28||-|
|12||28||Mike Stephens||Racers Edge / Star Mazda||28||-|
|13||30||Dan Tomlin III||Texas Autosports / Star Mazda||28||-|
|14||26||Dave McMillan||Sports Car Ltd / Star Mazda||28||-|
|15||8||Scott Jenkins||Jenkins Racing / Star Mazda||28||-|
|16||19||Dick Downs||Eurosports Racing / Star Mazda||28||-|
|17||24||Brad Drew||Drew Racing / Star Mazda||28||-|
|18||25||Will Hill||Valley Motor Center / Star Mazda||28||-|
|19||27||Bryan Willman||Team Bucknum Racing / Star Mazda||28||-|
|20||33||Ron Berger||Tom Moore Autosports / Star Mazda||28||-|
|21||34||Ethan Hernandez||Aubeta Motorsports / Star Mazda||28||-|
|22||18||Steve Lopez||Valley Motor Center / Star Mazda||28||-|
|23||9||Pierre Ehret||Team Bucknum Racing / Star Mazda||28||-|
|24||35||Tom Mabey||Rocky Mountain Motorsports / Star Mazda||28||-|
|25||40||Don Simmons||Tom Moore Autosports / Star Mazda||28||-|
|26||32||Ginni Swanton||Team Bucknum Racing / Star Mazda||28||-|
|27||36||Rick Waddell||World Speed Motorsports / Star Mazda||28||-|
|28||17||Phil Fog, Jr.||Flat Out Racing / Star Mazda||27||-|
|29||37||Nur Ali||Ali Motorsports / Star Mazda||27||-|
|30||6||Alex Figge||World Speed Motorsports / Star Mazda||27||-|
|31||39||Dick Doty||Eurosport Racing / Star Mazda||26||-|
|32||38||John Faulkner||Racers Edge / Star Mazda||25||-|
|33||41||Chad Block||Valley Motor Center / Star Mazda||19||-|
|34||23||Tom Nastasi||Light Speed / Star Mazda||19||-|
|35||12||Matt Beardsley||Valley Motor Center / Star Mazda||18||-|
|36||31||Todd Garner||Texas Autosports / Star Mazda||18||-|
|37||42||Larry Couture||Team Hope Racing / Star Mazda||9||-|
|38||14||Chantz Wade||World Speed Motorsports / Star Mazda||7||-|
|39||13||Moses Smith||Star Mountain Racing / Star Mazda||7||-|
|40||21||Bob Hatle||R.H. Racing / Star Mazda||5||-|
|41||20||Frank McCormick||World Speed Motorsports / Star Mazda||1||-|
|42||29||Dan Weyland||Eurosport Racing / Star Mazda||0||-|
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