Justin Piscitell wins Mazda Club Racing Champions Shoot-out
Monday, February 02, 2009
Inaugural Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Challenge champion Justin Piscitell won the third annual “Mazda Club Racing Champions Shootout” at Buttonwillow Raceway, a prize worth $70,000. Piscitell will hook up with a front-running MX-5 Cup team for 2009, bringing $50,000 for a car, another $10,000 for parts, a new set of tires for each race weekend and, courtesy of SCCA Pro Racing, a waiver of the races’ entry fees. At the season opener May 3 at Road Atlanta, Piscitell intends to look sharp in his “MAZDASPEED“-emblazoned suit and helmet, supplied by Sparco.
Piscitell raced the inaugural Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Challenge in 2008, just months after having graduated from a MAZDASPEED Three Day School. And proceeded to win the championship. That title got him an invite to the MX-5 Cup shootout, where Piscitell beat out 10 other Mazda racers – all NASA and/or SCCA Club Racing champions in their own right.
Piscitell was up against SCCA Run-offs champions Mark Eaton, Eric Foss, Franklin Futrelle, Rick Harris, Joe McClughan and Jesse Prather, and NASA champions Dean Copeland, Todd Lamb, Scott Shelton and Tyler Vance.
Charles Espenlaub has judged all three club racer shootouts and said, “I am amazed more and more every year. The talent is deep. The MAZDASPEED Ladder system works. And it becomes more and more difficult to determine a winner every year! What a great program, everyone should be proud of their efforts and what they learned from the experience.”
“Winning Skip Barber’s MAZDASPEED Challenge opened up the world to me,” says Piscitell. “I mean, I’m a 19-year-old kid from Patterson, N.Y., who’s only been racing for one year. I was elated to even have just the opportunity to get to Mazda’s club racing shootout. Winning it? Beyond comprehension…”