FORMER ATLANTIC SERIES CHAMPION ALEX BARRON TO COMPETE FOR POLESTAR RACING GROUP IN 2006 INDIANAPOLIS (March 20, 2006) -- One of the most personable and distinguished champions in the recent history of the Atlantic Championship is returning...
FORMER ATLANTIC SERIES CHAMPION ALEX BARRON TO COMPETE FOR POLESTAR RACING GROUP IN 2006
INDIANAPOLIS (March 20, 2006) -- One of the most personable and distinguished champions in the recent history of the Atlantic Championship is returning to his racing roots this season. American racer Alex Barron, the 1997 Atlantic series champion, is coming home to the series where he first established a name for himself, signing on to drive for Polestar Racing Group in the 2006 Yokohama Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda.
Barron, 35, has raced in both the Champ Car World Series and the IRL since capturing the '97 Atlantic crown. The homecoming for the Menifee, California native represents a reunion with Jim Griffith, the engineer who helped guide Barron to his Atlantic title with Lynx Racing. Griffith now owns the Polestar team along with his wife Pam and engineer Bruce Potter. Barron not only becomes an instant contender for the '06 Atlantic championship with the experienced Polestar squad, he will also help serve as a guiding force for rookie and new 17-year-old teammate Alan Sciuto, one of America's brightest rising racing stars.
"I'm excited to be returning to Atlantic competition," said Barron. "With a new crop of very talented teams and drivers, the Atlantic Championship should be one of the most competitive series in all of racing this season. It's going to be a lot fun working with the Griffiths again and everyone at Polestar. I've gotten to know Alan a little bit and I think he's a tremendous talent. With the team we've got assembled here, I think we're going to have an awesome 2006 season."
Barron will pilot the #21 Mazda-Cosworth/Swift 016.a/Yokohama for the fourth-year Polestar team. He'll compete with sponsorship from The Room Store, Arizona's largest volume furniture store, which also sponsors veteran Dan Selznick in the Atlantic Championship. Additional sponsorship may be added to Barron's entry in the coming weeks.
"We're happy to be sponsoring Alex in this year's championship," said Selznick, who's worked closely with Barron over the last few years to refine his own driving style. "He's going to be great for the series because of his immense talent and his efforts over the last few years have really helped me become a much better racer."
"Alex is going to be a great addition to the team," said Jim Griffith, whose squad earned a series-high five victories in 2005 with Atlantic rookies Katherine Legge and Antoine Bessette. "I have a lot of respect for him both as a driver and a person and he'll certainly raise our game as we go after the Atlantic championship this season."
In '97, Barron took the Atlantic series by storm. He earned five wins and four pole positions with the Lynx team to capture both the series title and Rookie-of-the-Year honors. The following season he graduated to Champ Cars joining Dan Gurney's All-American Racers squad. After being named RACER magazine's Most Promising Road Racer of the Year in '98, Barron competed for a number of Champ Car teams over the next several seasons. He made 34 Champ Car starts from 1998-2001 for teams including All-American Racers, Marlboro Team Penske, Dale Coyne Racing and Arciero-Blair Racing. He joined the IRL in 2001 and earned two series victories in 59 starts through last season.
Barron will join Sciuto and the Polestar team at this week's first test session with the new-generation Champ Car Atlantic car, March 21-22 at the California Speedway road course. He'll officially make his Atlantic re-introduction at the opening race of the season, April 7-9 at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
The Champ Car Atlantic Championship continues to be the premier open-wheel development series in North America. Beginning its 33rd season in 2006, the championship is noted for its long history of graduating its stars into Champ Car competition and has helped produce past Champ Car champions Paul Tracy, Jimmy Vasser, Bobby Rahal, Danny Sullivan, Michael Andretti and Jacques Villeneuve. 2005 Champ Car competitors Alex Tagliani, Andrew Ranger and Ronnie Bremer are also established Atlantic graduates along with 2004 Champ Car Rookie of the Year and 2003 Atlantic champ A.J. Allmendinger. Competing in newly-designed Swift 016.a chassis powered by a 2.3-liter Mazda-Cosworth engine riding on Yokohama ADVAN Racing Slicks, 2006 competitors will fight for the 12-race championship and the unique $2 million Champ Car series champion's bonus. For more information on the Atlantic series, please visit www.champcaratlantic.com.