Atlantics Championship – Year In Review
Thoughts on Next Year:
The immediate thought is, “Will there be a next year?” Having only 10 cars on the grid most races, and 13 as a maximum, the existence of the 2010 Atlantics Championship is not guaranteed. Things are looking promising, though, as the series has announced their 12-event 2010 schedule and Cooper Tires returns as the presenting sponsor. The series is still negotiating a 13th event, presumably either a return to the Long Beach Grand Prix. The series has had a presence at the LBGP for years, and to see it miss out on this great event is tragic.
2010 Atlantics Championship Schedule
|March 19||Sebring International Raceway / Sebring, Fla.||American Le Mans Series|
|May 22||Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca / Monterey, Calif.||American Le Mans Series|
|May 29||Lime Rock Park / Lakeville, Conn.||Grand-Am|
|June 20||Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course / Lexington, Ohio||Grand-Am|
|June 26||New Jersey Motorsports Park / Millville, N.J.||Feature|
|June 27||New Jersey Motorsports Park / Millville, N.J.||Feature|
|July 10||Miller Motorsports Park / Tooele, Utah||American Le Mans Series|
|July 24||Lime Rock Park / Lakeville, Conn.||American Le Mans Series|
|July 31||Autobahn Country Club / Joliet, Ill.||Feature|
|August 1||Autobahn Country Club / Joliet, Ill.||Feature|
|August 15||Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres / Trois-Rivieres, Quebec||Co-Feature|
|October 1||Road Atlanta / Braselton, Ga.||American Le Mans Series|
There’s been no word on what teams and drivers will be participating in the 2010 season except that 2009 Champions Newman/Wachs will not be back to defend their title. The team has stated their intention of placing Johnathon Edwards in at least an Firestone Indy Lights car if they can’t find a partner in an existing IndyCar team. That immediately cuts the grid by 20%! The series needs an influx of new talent, both drivers and teams, but with no clear destination beyond the Atlantics Championship, the series is rapidly losing its appeal. The IRL has taken the first steps toward establishing a clear progression ladder into the IndyCar series with their sanctioning of the revived U.S. F2000 National Championship, but there’s a big gap between the F2000 cars and the Firestone Indy Lights cars. Star Mazda and the Atlantics Championship could easily fill that gap, but so far there’s been no public movement towards such integration. If things don’t change next year, 2010 may be the final season for the longest running American open-wheel feeder series.
Next Week: Star Mazda 2009 Season Review!