Champ Car Atlantic champ turns down $2 million

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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