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.”

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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.”

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