MAZDA REV IT DRIVING TEAM BIOS
FOR RELEASE: February 24, 2003
BILL BARTLETT Mazda Rev It Up Program Designer
Bill Bartlett has been an expert on both sides of the fence—driving and instructing! As a driver, he won the 2000 Neon Challenge. As an instructor, he came to Automotive Marketing Con******ts, Inc (AMCI) after three years at the Skip Barber Racing School and he has a total of eight years experience in ride-and-drive programs for various automakers.
Bartlett has accumulated 20 years of experience in the automobile business as a mechanic, auto wholesaler and retailer, professional driver and team owner, training facilitator, and presenter. In addition to his experience at the Skip Barber Racing School, he has instructed for Bill Scott Racing, the BMW Ultimate Driving Experience and many others.
His driving skills earned him countless road racing poles, track records, podium finishes, wins, and championships, including both the 1995 and 2000 "Neon Challenge" Championships. He was also the 1997 Polesitter Valvoline Runoffs (SSC Class), the 1995 2nd place finisher Valvoline Runoffs, 1996 SCCA South East Division Champion and he’s currently campaigning a 2001 Mazda Protege MP3 in Southern Pacific Division of the SCCA.
With the Mazda Rev It Up program, Bartlett is responsible for all of the planning, design and staffing for the Learn & Drive® elements of the program, including the Chalk Talk, Clinics, Mazda Drive Center and the National Driving Competition Course. His depth of knowledge of program design and implementation makes all of his programs safe, fun, and educational. When not running the Mazda Rev It Up Tour, he is also the architect of many of AMCI’s highly regarded Learn and DriveŇ Programs.
Ron Fieni Mazda Rev it Up Crew Manager
Fieni grew up next to a race track—a dirt oval—owned by the father of an Indy car driver. He took his first ride around a track at age four and has been hooked ever since. His need for speed has even taken him into the air in a U.S. Navy F-4 Fighter Jet and down icy shutes as a luge racer, invited to tryout for the 1980 Olympic luge team.
He became a competitive driver more than 30 years ago, beginning in go-karts. He followed that by several years of autocrossing, competing in 200+ autocrosses, with a win ratio higher than 50%. From autocrossing, he progressed to road racing. Fieni has extensive seat time in Formula Vee, Formula Ford, Formula Super Vee and Touring Cars, setting many track records and winning numerous championships. He also enjoyed a brief stint in F5000, competed in Sprint Cars, and has been a test driver for several automobile manufacturers including the Mazda RX7 race program when it first debuted. To date, Fieni has competed at nearly 75 tracks in hundreds of races and has raced against such notable drivers as Michael Andretti and John Paul, Jr.
He is also an accomplished instructor with 25 years of coaching experience including several years instructing at the Skip Barber Racing School.
Fieni has been a Program Manager for AMCI for several years. Prior to joining AMCI, Ron was a business owner. The organizational and management skills he brings, along with the vast experience as an instructor and race car driver, make him the ideal person to lead the Mazda Rev it Up Team.
JIM OURAND Mazda Rev It Up Chief Steward
Jim Ourand has been an autocross racer for more than 30 years. He has acquired a unique knowledge of competing in and managing such events. For the past 10 years he has worked with AMCI on its highly regarded Learn and DriveŇ Programs on a freelance basis.
Ourand joined the automotive business after first serving with the Air Force in Maine, Spain, and Texas. Closing out his military experience, he moved to Southern California and began a 20-year career in the aircraft manufacturing business with General Dynamics Convair. When the company shut down its San Diego operations, Ourand started his own computerized signs and banner business, with an emphasis on racecar numbers and graphics because of his passion for autocross racing.
Ourand has owned and modified a variety of cars beginning with an MGA Coupe, several Triumphs, Datsuns, Toyotas, Hondas, Mazdas, a Mustang, a Camaro, and now a Corvette, which he runs in A-Stock. As Chief Steward of the Mazda Rev It Up Tour, Jim will draw on his vast experience as an autocrosser to insure that the competition events are run smoothly and according to the rules.
ROB FELDMAN Chief of Timing and Scoring, Chief Safety Steward
Rob Feldman came to the motorsports world via his expertise in technology. A top Pennsylvania-based information technology con******t in the business world, he initially volunteered at the media center at Nazareth Speedway in 1988, assisting with the development of database software for distributing timing & scoring information to on-site media. Because of his innovation in the field, Feldman found himself in demand at other tracks including Michigan International Speedway, Watkins Glen International, New Hampshire International Speedway and Texas World Speedway, working on a freelance basis, while continuing to work full-time outside motorsports. In 1999, Feldman signed on as the full-time Director of Operations & Technology at Nazareth Speedway. He has joined Mazda Rev It Up to oversee timing and scoring, as well as act as Chief Safety Officer.
JOHN RUTHERFORD IV Mazda Rev It Up Chief Instructor
John Rutherford has quite literally grown up with auto racing and performance driving. Son of three-time Indianapolis 500 winner and Indy Car champion Johnny Rutherford, John has been racing cars for nearly ten years. His resume includes Karting, Pro F-2000, GT Endurance Sports Car, Grand-Am Cup and Toyota Atlantic competition. He has competed in the 24 hours of Daytona twice, the 12 hours of Sebring once and scored a victory in the 24 hours of Moroso. Rutherford also has held a position as a race-driving instructor at several racing schools around the country.
He began his quest for a career in auto racing while attending college in 1987. He completed three racing schools from 1987 to 1989, and upon graduation from Westminster College in 1990, purchased a 100 m.p.h. racing kart. After winning several kart races during the 1991 and 1992 seasons, Rutherford moved to the highly competitive USAC F-2000 Pro Series. He competed in only seven of nine scheduled events in 1993, but finished an impressive sixth place in the championship.
In 1994, working with a small budget, Rutherford took part in just three F-2000 events. The following year brought limited runs in the IMSA Street Stock Endurance Championship and a very promising test in the Bradley Motorsports Indy Lights car. In 1996, he started with a fourteenth place overall finish at the 24 Hours of Daytona, followed by a strong run at the 12 Hours of Sebring, co-driving a GTS-2 Porsche 911. The high point, however, came with a victory in the SCCA 24 Hours of Moroso, co-driving an ITB Volkswagen GTI.
In1997, Rutherford jumped to the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship events, where he competed in three races. For 1998, he contested the entire KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship, securing "top tens" in both qualifying and race results. In 1999, a concentration was placed on working as a race-driving instructor. The year 2000 began with another run at the 24 Hours of Daytona, co-driving a GTU Porsche, followed by a full season in the Grand-Am Cup, co-driving an Audi S4. In 2001, Rutherford captured two pole positions and two fastest race laps in the Grand-Am Cup.
Rutherford currently resides in Fort Worth, Texas and will serve this year as Mazda Rev It Up Chief Instructor. His previous experience includes race-driving instructor with the Bob Bondurant, Skip Barber, and Panoz and Mid-Ohio racing schools.
RANDY TOLSMA Mazda Rev It Up Instructor
Randy Tolsma has raced for over 20 years in both open wheel and stock cars, winning six regional championships, numerous rookie-of-the-year honors, 70-plus victories, and many track records along the way. He is most recognized for his appearances in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and NASCAR Busch Grand National Series.
Tolsma began his driving career racing go-karts at age nine. He won more than 100 go-kart races and three championships before he had a license to drive. He jumped to full size midgets when he was fifteen and began a streak in which he decisively won six regional championships, four “Most Popular Driver Awards,” and many victories in the western United States. The journey then took Tolsma and his wife Tiffanie to Indianapolis, IN, to race in the United States Auto Club Midget and Silver Crown Series.
Winning before a live television audience on ESPN helped bring nationwide exposure to Tolsma and his ability. While in Indianapolis, he collected numerous awards including Rookie-of-the-Year, Most Improved, and the prestigious Emma Ray Award for Courage. Tolsma capped off his time in Indy by completing the Rookie Orientation Program at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May 1996.
His next move was to NASCAR for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Tolsma began impressively, winning in only his 13th start, with numerous top five’s, poles, and another win. He has also made appearances in NASCAR Busch Grand National Series along with a trip to the British ASCAR.
When not racing, Tolsma has also spent many years as a racing instructor for the United States Auto Club, NASCAR, and the Richard Petty Driving Experience.
TED PRAPPAS Mazda Rev It Up Instructor
Ted Prappas has competed at all levels of U.S. Open wheel racing from Formula Fords, Super Vees, Formula Atlantic and Indy Lights through CART. A professional driver for 11 years, Prappas was a standout with three wins in the 1986 Western Formula Atlantic, culminating in the series championship. He earned his way onto the CART circuit after an excellent performance in the American Racing Series, where he had six top five finishes in his debut year and a victory in Detroit the following season, becoming runner-up for the title in his third and last year with ARS. He raced in CART in 1991 and 92, placing second to Jeff Andretti for rookie-of-the-year honors in his inaugural CART season.
Away from the asphalt, Prappas flies remote controlled planes and pilots his 27-foot-power boat.
JASON HART Mazda Rev It Up Instructor
Jason Hart has been racing cars for 11 years and has been instructing at racing schools for the past 8 years. He has most recently been a lead instructor for the Panoz Racing School, Porsche Driving Experience and Audi Driving Experience. Hart also works for and represents more than 55 vehicle manufactures and racing organizations around the world. Numerous race teams and race car drivers consult him for his expertise in many facets of auto racing, including race team/driver coaching, engineering, testing, chassis set-up and data acquisition analysis, just to name a few.
With wins in every form of asphalt racing from formula cars, go-karts and sports cars Hart has his sights set on the IRL and Nascar as his next challenge. Currently Hart is racing SCCA in various sports car classes including Spec Mazda Miata and GT1. He also campaigns a sprint car in his hometown of Dallas/Fort Worth with a team that he owns.
ERNIE BECKER Mazda Rev It Up Instructor Ernie Becker thrives on adrenaline: both on two wheels and four. An avid competitive bicyclist riding as much as 300 miles a day, his primary passion is motorsports. Becker started driving go-karts at a very young age and in his teenage years, raced the amateur the SCCA National So-Pac Series, becoming a champion. He started in the Formula Vee division and worked his way up through Formula Ford and F2000 Series ranks.
His race wins and championships earned Becker a test with a professional race team that competes in the Toyota Atlantic Series. Along with his open-wheeled racing background, he also has vast experience in production-based racing cars, including the Mazda Miata Pro Series and Neon Pro-Challenge.
Becker spends his time away from the track working with AMCI on driving programs and teaching at other race schools including Skip Barber Racing.
ADAM ANDRETTI Mazda Rev It Up Instructor
With an uncle and cousin who are legends in the sport of Indycar racing, Adam was bound to end up at the wheel of a racecar. He made his debut in the MMRA series in 1995 and then graduated to the Legends Series for the following two seasons, where he was a consistent top 10 finisher. Other notable racing exploits include a stint in Super karts, wins in the US 2000 Formula 3 series and a third place in the championship. Adam has also been a lead instructor for the Richard Petty Driving Experience.
He will juggle his calendar this year to be a Mazda Rev It Up instructor while also taking advantage of a fully sponsored ride in the World Challenge Corvette series.
JEFF ANDRETTI Mazda Rev It Up Instructor
Youngest son of Indianapolis 500, Formula One and Champ Car Champion Mario Andretti, Jeff Andretti started racing go-karts-- like his brother Michael-- winning 21 of 43 events between 1981 and 1982. He took championships in the Yamaha 100cc heavy weight class and unlimited class.
In 1983, Andretti won both the USAC Pro Ford championship and the Skip Barber Formula ford Eastern Series title, earning Rookie-of-the-Year honors in the latter series. Jeff qualified for his Sports Car Club of America national license in 1984 and was named SCCA Rookie-of-the-Year, winning six of 13 races. Andretti also won the Northeast Division title in Formula Ford and made his Super VEE debut at Las Vegas in the last event of the season. Jeff started on the pole and won the Super Vee race, while Mario did the same in the Champ Car event, marking the first time a father and son had started on the pole and won races on the same track in the same weekend.
Andretti advanced to the new American Racing Series in 1986, a series designed to be the primary stepping-stone to the PPG Champ Car World Series (now called Indy Lights). Jeff earned his first ARS win at Pocono, the same weekend his father finished first in the Champ Car race, which his brother had started from the pole, giving the family a "clean sweep." Jeff clinched second place in the ARS point standing.
Jeff expanded his driving experience in the American Racing Series, as well as the Corvette Challenge Series and the GTP class of IMSA. In 1989 Jeff competed in the Toyota Atlantic Series, taking on the difficult challenge of developing a new chassis and engine. He earned Rookie-of-the-Year honors and had five to ten finishes, while taking second place in the Toyota Championship Points Fund - - Atlantic Division.
Jeff joined his father and brother in the Champ Car ranks in 1990, making racing history, marking the first time a father has competed against his two sons in a Champ Car race. Jeff made his series debut at Milwaukee, although mechanical problems led him to a 17th place finish. In 1991, Jeff began his first full season if Champ Car competition, driving the Texaco Havoline Star for Bayside Motor Sports. With three top-ten finishes in the three races leading up to the prestigious Indy 500, Jeff gained the confidence and experience necessary to qualify 11th in the elite 33 car field.
His consistent performance during the month of May at Indianapolis, coupled with his outstanding drive it he race, earned him the 1991 Indy 500 Rookie-of-the-Year title. In winning the coveted award, Jeff followed in the footsteps of his father and brother, the first time ever that three members of the same family achieved that level of excellence. Jeff finished the season in similar fashion, also earning CART Rookie-of-the-Year.
The 1992 season signaled Jeff's return to the Indianapolis 500, driving for legendary racer A.J. Foyt Jr's team. Jeff's on track diligence paid dividends as he qualified for the traditional race on the first day of time trials. He proved that he even learned a trick or two from the crafty veteran Foyt by qualifying three spots ahead of the four-time champion. Unfortunately, a spectacular crash ended Jeff's day on lap 109. After spending three weeks at at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, Jeff began the long road rehabilitation and recovery, determined to race again in 1993.
His comeback efforts completed, Jeff qualified in sixteenth position, driving for Pagan Racing, in the 1993 Indianapolis 500. Andretti returned full-time to racing in 1995, driving for Canaska Racing with an impressive season in the Indy Lights series. For 1996 and 97, Jeff drove for Leitzinger Racing in the new, North American Touring Car Series. Over the past five years, Jeff has concentrated on developing family business ventures and instructing young drivers.
TANIA BOURBONNAIS Mazda Rev It Up Instructor
Tania Bourbonnais is one of a select few world-class women high performance driving instructors. A resident of Canada, Bourbonnais has five years of experience working with race schools, skid schools, defensive and advanced driving programs, tire testing and ride and drive programs--as a facilitator and professional driver, as well as logistics crew. Since 1999, she has been in demand as a driving instructor and facilitator for many manufactures including GM, Chrysler, Michelin, BMW, Subaru and Mazda, to name a few. She has instructed for BASI, Skip Barber, Jim Russell Driving Schools, as well as programs for Car and Driver and Pole Position magazine.
As a driver, she has competed in the Formula Ford 1600 Quebec Championships, the Formula 2000 Run-0ffs at Mont Tremblant and Formula Atlantic Series, as well as the 125cc Shirter Karts Enduro and 100cc Kart Endruo races in Quebec.
Bourbonnais is an accomplished public speaker for motorsports enthusiast and women’s groups.
LANCE KING Mazda Rev It Up Instructor
Lance King is an accomplished precision driver and stunt producer. Most recently he has worked as a top pro-driver and facilitator on the Ride-‘n-Drive circuits with Ford, Land Rover, Cadillac, Mercedes, Infiniti, Acura, Toyota, Lexus, to name a few.
King has spent nearly his whole life on wheels. At the age of nine, he started racing motorcycles and nearly became the youngest World Champion ever--only to lose by one point. As an adult, King became an instructor at Bob Bondurant’s Performance Driving School, where he worked for several years. Simultaneously, he was honing his skills as stunt producer and stunt performer, specializing in driving stunts.
To keep sharp as a driver, King today races a 917/30 Porsche and is currently undefeated.
CAROLINE B. WRIGHT Mazda Rev It Up Instructor
Caroline Wright, a major market radio-broadcasting veteran, made her professional racing debut in 1996 when she began competing in the Neon Challenge Pro series. She competed in the series until 1998, posting several top 5 finishes. In 1999, she co-drove a GT3 Porsche in the prestigious Rolex 24 at Daytona, finishing 15th in her first Rolex 24 start. In 2000, Wright branched into HSR vintage racing, co-driving a 911 RSR for a class win at Sebring. In 2001, Wright competed in a limited schedule of Speedvision World Challenge GT events in a Grand Sport Racing Corvette. Wright won her first professional race when she co-drove to a Grand-Am Cup STII Class victory at Daytona in January 2003.
Wright began road racing in 1992 and in her rookie season, she won SCCA Regional Championships in GT2 and Showroom Stock B. The 1996 Southwest Division Champion in Showroom Stock B, she also captured the 1998 and 1999 Southwest Division Championships in T2. Also in 1999, she charged to a medal finish at the Valvoline Runoff’s, taking 4th place in the rain-soaked event. In 2000, she competed again in T2 and debuted in the T1 class in a Ferrari of Houston 355. Wright repeated her 4th place performance in the Ferrari at the Runoff’s. To date, she has notched 35 victories, 9 poles, 26 other podium finishes, and has set 16 lap records.
Wright is the first woman to serve as a series anchor announcer for a major professional racing series. She is the PA announcer for the Trans-Am Series. She was the first woman to announce a CART race when she co-anchored the Texaco Grand Prix of Houston from 1998-2001. Starting in 2000, Wright provided track PA color commentary for Trans Am and Speedvision World Challenge racing.
A member of the 1997 PPG Pace Car Team, Wright was the Track Orientation Director for Ferrari’s of Houston and Dallas from 1995-2001. She is an SCCA driving instructor, a 1995 Winfield semi-finalist, graduate of the 1996 Lyn St. James Driver Development Program, the 1998 LSJ Graduate Program, and a Team Leader for the 1997, 2000, 2001 and 2002 LSJ DDP. Wright has served three terms on the Houston Region SCCA Board of Directors and is currently seated on the Competition Committee. In addition, Wright serves as Media Con******t to Texas Hearing & Service Dogs.