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Atlantic drivers attend bull riding event
A few hours after the checkered flag dropped on the second race of last weekend’s Rexall Edmonton Indy doubleheader, several Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda drivers made their way to Rexall Place to take in Saturday’s final round of a two-day Professional Bull Riders (PBR) elite Built Ford Tough Series presented by Wrangler (BFTS) event in Edmonton. The opportunity for the drivers was made possible by series presenting sponsor Cooper Tire, which is also the official tire of the PBR.

“After such an exciting weekend of Atlantic racing in Edmonton, it was great to have our Atlantic Championship drivers experience one of the fastest growing sports, Professional Bull Riding,” said Chris Pantani, Director of UHP Marketing and Motorsports for Cooper Tire.  “During our double race weekend, PBR stars Sean Willingham, Mike Lee and Cord McCoy were able to get a behind the scenes look at the premier open-wheel development series.”

Less then a car length away from the dirt and safely protected from the bulls, seven Atlantic Championship drivers attended Saturday Night’s Round 2 of PBR. The drivers in attendance were points leader James Hinchcliffe and his Forsythe/Pettit Racing teammate David Garza, Brooks Associates Racing teammates Markus Niemela and Tom Sutherland, Condor Motorsports/Team Holland teammates Junior Strous and Dominick Muermans and Jensen MotorSport driver Henri Karjalainen.

Once the event got underway, the drivers were introduced individually to the audience while standing on the chute platform, and then were escorted to the “Rocky Boots” lounge to watch a few of their favorite riders in action. Driver Tom Sutherland, whose No. 88 Brooks Associates Racing entry sponsored by the PBR, was allowed to assist rider Cord McCoy prior to his ride by pulling the bull rope, during which, a loud cheer erupted as a photo of Sutherland’s car appeared on the stadium’s JumboTron.

“Attending the PBR Show with Cooper Tire was an amazing experience,” said Hinchcliffe.  “Just as I am sure the cowboys that came by the track were shocked by how much went into a race event, I was blown away by how big the event was and what went into it.  Being brought up on stage, getting to see the action up close and meeting the riders is something I'll never forget.  But I will gladly still take my Mazda's 300 horses over one bull any day!”

Next up for the drivers and teams of the Atlantic Championship is another doubleheader weekend, this time at the picturesque Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. as part of the Road Race Showcase. Round 6 of the 11-race 2008 Atlantic season will be held on Saturday, August 9, with Round 7 slated for Sunday, August 10.

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