It's official: Atlantic Series deadUPDATE A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, As a loyal subscriber to AR1, I read your footnote on the demise of the Atlantics regarding Tony George and OWR " Maybe we should write a book detailing the destruction of open wheel racing in America".
Where do I send my down payment check on your book? Name names. Tell the story about big name owners and their disloyalty to the sport. Tell the story about the reasonable owners, especially those who aren't participating anymore due to lack of sponsor value. Make it a "coffee table book" with pictures. Bob Pagels, Downers Grove, IL
03/03/10 Due to the downturn in the global economy and the subsequent shortage of funded drivers, the Cooper Tires Presents the Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda will go on hiatus until global conditions improve. The Atlantic Championship has and always will be committed to providing the best driver development series available to the world’s next generation of top-tier driving talent. Unfortunately however this experience cannot be upheld through 2010. Series officials will continue working throughout the year to develop new ideas for the future that will add value to drivers and also lower costs associated with competing in a world-class racing series like the Atlantic Championship.
“It is with a heavy heart and only after deep consideration that I have accepted the recommendations from the stakeholders in the Series to pause efforts related to the continuation of the 2010 Atlantic Championship season,” said Ben Johnston, Owner, Atlantic Championship. “As a former Atlantic racer myself, the Atlantic Championship means a great deal to me personally. I know what this series means to the drivers of the world as well as the heritage that Atlantics carries with it and I will not devalue the world-class experience that each one of our drivers is entitled to just to save face during these tough economic times. I am committed to this series now as much as ever and will assure Atlantic fans that the Atlantic Championship office will be working during the down time in order to deliver an unparalleled racing offering when economic conditions allow.”
“All of us at Mazda are disappointed that the Atlantic Championship will be on hiatus this year,” said Robert Davis, Senior Vice President, Mazda North American Operations. “It was no doubt a very difficult decision made by the Atlantic management in conjunction with the teams. Mazda has greatly enjoyed the past four years of working with outstanding drivers, teams, and partners and we remain committed to our ongoing support of up-and-coming drivers in both open-wheel and sports car racing."
[Editor's Note: It's dead and it's never coming back. The open wheel industry in the USA took such a hit when the IRL was created there just isn't any money for a series like Atlantics (the best driver development series America ever had) to survive. Heck, American drivers like Graham Rahal cannot even get a ride in IndyCar unless they bring a large check. Everything we predicted would happen to open wheel racing in the USA in 1995 when the IRL was born has come true. We went from the CART paddock having much more sponsorship money than NASCAR to where we are today. And the man who started this calamity has walked away from the mess he created and isn't even fielding a team in IndyCar. Maybe we should write a book detailing the destruction of open wheel racing in America.]
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