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Inside Mazda

Racing, Owning and Selling MX-5 Miatas

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Celebrating 30 Years of the MX-5 Miata begins with celebrating our fans and their stories. We asked owners and enthusiasts from around the country to submit their MX-5 stories to celebrate the debut of the 30th Anniversary MX-5 Miata at the Chicago Auto Show.

Daniel Bender’s background with Mazda is a little different from most. Bender was born into racing, thanks to his father who was a driver himself.

“I've always been into racing,” Bender explained. “It was always a family interest, so I started off running Spec Miatas in SCCA.”

This love for racing and Mazda led Bender to get a job as a salesman at Autobarn Mazda in Evanston, Illinois after finishing school.

Not long after he started his career working at a Mazda dealership, he won a T4 National Championship in SCCA with an MX-5 Miata. This win led him to purchase his very own ND MX-5, which has been his daily driver ever since, rain, snow or shine.

“The MX-5 is just a champion,” Bender explained. “It just wants to go run around and have fun. It's responsive. It's nimble. It's so enjoyable, everything about it.”

Bender’s genuine passion for Mazda and the MX-5 has resonated with many people. That is why he’s become a top MX-5 racer and Mazda salesman in the country.

“I had always raced spec Miatas and Miatas in general,” he explained. “So I decided that I could sell cars, race them and make that connection and hopefully people would realize, I'm a little bit more passionate about cars and Mazda than your typical car salesman.”


Bender wants people to see and experience what he has for so many years. He loves helping people make their dream of owning an MX-5 a reality.  

“You get people that have wanted one for a long time,” Bender explained. “It’s a great moment just to be able to see the enjoyment on people's faces when they realize, ‘Oh, my god. It's mine.’

“Something you realize with the MX-5 is just how much you love it,” Bender continued. “For some reason, every time you drive it, after one month, three months, six months of ownership, the MX-5 will just become your favorite car. I've had a lot of people that plan on buying a Miata as a once-in-awhile car when the weather is nice and they end up driving it daily, well past the summer season.”

Bender feels the MX-5 is different from other cars, especially with the sense of community that comes with owning one.

“Owning an MX-5 is like being a part of a family,” he explained. “Everybody who has an MX-5 knows exactly why the other person has one--they’ve purchased it out of the love for it.”