• Jan 24, 2008

Every year the driver who wins the Atlantic Series gets a $2 million grant earmarked towards moving up to the Champ Car World Series. Critics say it's not enough to secure a ride in the competitive racing class, but who's going to turn down a multi-million-dollar purse? Raphael Matos, that's who. The cash-strapped Brazilian driver needs the green to continue racing, but rather than take the money and run, as Steve Miller would advise, Matos is instead moving over next season to the Indy Pro Series, Atlantic's equivalent in the competing IRL framework. Andretti Green Racing is giving him a ride as a stepping-stone to the full-fat IndyCar Series for 2009. Matos may continue to drive for Team Brazil in A1GP, as well.

While the snubbed officials at Champ Car try to figure out what to do with Matos' prize money – it could go to runner-up Franck Perera – they've also got to find a replacement for Executive VP and race director Tony Cotman who is leaving his job. Cotman's departure follows that of Beaux Barfield (seriously, that's his name) who was replaced by Johnny Unser as director of the Atlantic series. That on top of four-time series champion Sebastien Bourdais' departure to race in Formula One means Champ Car racing could be running on its last set of tires before the wheels come off altogether.

[Source: AutoWeek]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 9 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Honestly, does anyone even find open-wheel oval stuff exciting? I'm not a fanboi of either series, but ovals put me to sleep. I'd rather see someone pass on a nice late-brake move in a 90-degree right-hander than inching past them on a straight away.

      Reunite, and do half road courses, half oval.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Amen! They need to patch it up and move on.

        I wish NASCAR_brand of the month_cup would run more road courses--they're actually pretty entertaining. Good, close racing. For those heavy cars with relatively small tires, a lot of those cats prove they can run anything.

        I know the cookie cutter 1.5 mile ovals are where the audience money is, but damn those are boring. Kill off a few of those and schedule more road races. I'd rather see them run Road Atlanta than AMS. Why not do a road race during speed week--Daytona has a good setup. Oh, I guess they'd have to take up some infield space for a day.

        I guess for the surest bet, just see if the series you want to spectate is sanctioned by SCCA or NASA.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Unfortunately, both sides have ventured into drastically different arenas, with Champ Car being completely on road and street courses and Indy favoring the ovals. (They even go so far as to race Motegi on the oval, not the superb road course) And with the hubris of each side's rulers in play, no one wants to call a truce.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Yes, except for the fact that champ are now doing a few ovals and INDY is doing some road courses.

        Tony George has the big end of the stick, THE 500. However, in the past few years IT has been shown to be outdated with fewer participants. You don't need 4 weeks of testing, qualifying, initiation, preparation, etc. Le Mans has it down to: 1 (2?) test day(s), 2 quali days and the race.

        Tell me why, oh why, does INDY need a carburation day? When is the last time an INDY had a carburetor? Man, only NASCAR has carburetors! (and they can get through the 'superbowl of races' in 3 weeks!

        I like diversity in racing also. F1 would loose to loose Monaco, Spa or Monza. WRC ***LOST*** when they abandoned the Safari. NASCAR looses to only do 2 road races; or to even include 2 road races. (1 or 2 more or none at all, please) Though I like the COT / Busch car-of-yesterday split.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Wait a second, this guy wins a 2 million grant to step up to the Champ series.
      He decides to forgo that because he does not want to race in Champ (with their uncertain future at the time who could blame him).
      He jumps to the IRL feeder series instead with the intent to move up to the IRL series eventually.
      Then Champ and IRL merge and now the Champ car ride he may have gotten is now an IRL ride which is where he is trying to get to now.
      So, he really did throw 2 million away for nothing.
      Ouch!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Someone put a fork in openwheel racing in us, it's done.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Robin Miller has an interesting article about Champ Car and the IRL:

      http://www.speedtv.com/articles/auto/champcar/42686/

      I really wish this would work out.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Let them die, it won't be long before someone champions a new series with the best of both worlds.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The IRL will win this battle for one reason only - the Indy 500. This is most likely one of the last nails in the coffin for ChampCar. I like the skill it takes to race both road and ovals.