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The end of the Atlantic Series?UPDATE #4 This rumor seems to have created some turbid waters. This release was distributed by Newman-Wachs today. We still have major doubts about this series, as NWR was not one of the teams we spoke to that said they don't know of any teams that are planning on racing in this series next season, and that prize money is not being paid. This has always been a great series and they have a great car and close racing. We certainly hope it isn't so, and Vicki O’Connor has pulled a rabbit out of her hat more than once with this series in the past, and taken it to new heights each time. However, we will stick to our position on this one for now, because there is just too much out there indicating this series just isn't going to make it to the grid next year, though again...we certainly hope that is not the case. 10 cars (or less!) really doesn't make a racing series. 10/20/09 Newman Wachs is just one of the teams saying they are having issues and doubts about prize money to be paid, and the continued life of the series. Since this is circulating about from so many angles, we are upgrading this one to strong until we see teams on track for 2010. Even then, we doubt the series will last the full season. See related rumor. 10/16/09 Lots of conflicting information about Atlantic. We spoke with someone who attended the Atlantic banquet at Mazda Raceway and was told that big (both in size and supposed dollar value) checks were handed out; $1 million for the winner, $500,000 for 2nd place and $250,000 for 3rd. Of course, we also heard at Laguna that the prize money hadn't been paid for the Mosport race, much less Road Atlanta. And there would be no real point in writing those checks unless Ben Johnson was prepared to write them again next year. That said, the principals from all the Atlantic teams came over to meet with the top two drivers in the Star Mazda Championship (Peter Dempsey and Adam Christodoulou) during the Mazda Raceway weekend and all were talking about all the great new things that would be going on next season in Atlantic, saying that Atlantic was in such good shape they'd outlast the IRL! It all pretty much comes down to whether or not those checks that got handed out clear; if not, its over. But even if they do, unless Atlantic is able to announce some major initiative to cut costs significantly for 2010, and lots of new teams and drivers sign up, the survival of the series is still up in the air. Add to that, the stated budget for the new ALMS 'spec' prototype class is right in line with what Atlantic costs and we know a couple of teams are looking at that option.
10/15/09 We have learned more on this rumor. There was a team owner meeting last winter, and a few owners suggested that there be a big prize for the series champion....with the view that this prize would attract more paying drivers to the teams for the 2009 season…
The team owners suggested that for each car entered in the series by a team owner, that the team owner would pay into a “pool” $50,000. And that “pool” would be used substantially to help fund the big season end prize fund. Then a $1M prize was announced, $500K to 2nd place. Well as we now understand it no team owners paid there $50K per entry so it appears there will be no $1M prize to the winner unless Ben Johnson decides to step up and pay it out of his pocket, which he is not obligated to do. With only 10 entries this past year, that would have accounted for $500K, which would have meant Johnson would have been on the hook for that much less.
10/14/09 Rumors are circulating among Atlantic series team owners that the Atlantic series has refused to pay the big prize money it announced...AGAIN...
If this rumor is true we doubt any teams or drivers are planning to return next year. If true, it looks like that horse is dead. R.I.P. Atlantics. You had a great run.
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