Series news 2009-02-09

Additional Details on Expanded Prize Package for 2009 Atlantic Championship Announced; Single-Race Weekends Now Feature $50,000 Winner's Prize BROWNSBURG, Ind. (February 9, 2009) - On the heels of last week's announcement that the 2009...

Additional Details on Expanded Prize Package for 2009 Atlantic Championship Announced; Single-Race Weekends Now Feature $50,000 Winner's Prize

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (February 9, 2009) - On the heels of last week's announcement that the 2009 Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda will feature a $1 million champion's prize and $500,000 for second in the season standings as part of a $3 million package of purse and prize money, series officials announced additional details today.

The prize for third place in the championship has doubled from what was awarded in 2008 to $200,000. Top finishers in each race will also see considerable increases in their payouts.

Race winners in the 10 single-race weekends will earn $50,000 for first place, more than double the $20,000 awarded for a win previously. Second place will pay $30,000, up from $13,000 last year, while third place will pay $15,000, up from $10,000 awarded in 2008. A fourth-place finish is now worth $8,000, with $7,000 going to fifth, $5,500 for sixth, $4,500 for seventh, $3,500 for eighth, $2,500 for ninth and $2,000 for 10th. Each single-race weekend purse will total $130,000.

For the two "doubleheader" race weekends on the 2009 Atlantic Championship schedule, the purse for each race will be $65,000, with $25,000 going to the winner of each race, $15,000 for second, $7,500 for third, $4,000 for fourth, $3,500 for fifth, $2,750 for sixth, $2,250 for seventh, $1,750 for eighth, $1,250 for ninth and $1,000 for 10th.

Each race in the 2009 Atlantic Championship will also include $3,000 in bonus awards. The $1,000 Cooper Tire Pole Award will be paid out to the fastest qualifier in each race, as it has since Cooper joined the series in 2007. New for 2009 will be a $2,000 "Hard Charger Bonus" for the driver who improves the most positions from start to finish in each race.

"By restructuring the way we award prize money, we believe that we have created better opportunities for competitors to earn substantial money," said Atlantic Championship Executive Vice President Vicki O'Connor. "We feel that this prize package is lucrative enough to not only attract drivers to our series, but also enable them and our teams to offset their costs to participate in the series."

The 12-race 2009 Atlantic Championship gets underway on Friday, March 20 at Sebring International Raceway as part of the prestigious Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh From Florida weekend.

The Atlantic Championship is the longest-running open-wheel driver development series in North America and celebrated its 35th Anniversary season in 2008, with Finnish rookie Markus Niemela taking the series championship in the final race of the season. With a $1 million champion's prize and a total of $3 million in prize money up for grabs, the 2009 Atlantic Championship offers one of the most lucrative prize packages in North American open-wheel racing.

The series is noted for its long history of graduating its drivers into the top levels of motorsport throughout the world, including IndyCar drivers such as Bobby Rahal, Danny Sullivan, Michael Andretti, Jimmy Vasser, Danica Patrick, Dan Wheldon, Graham Rahal and Raphael Matos, Formula One world champions such as Jacques Villeneuve and Keke Rosberg, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Sam Hornish Jr. and A.J. Allmendinger and sports car stars like Jon Fogarty, Alex Gurney, Michael Valiante, Joey Hand and Simon Pagenaud.

Atlantic Championship graduates have won races and championships at the highest levels of motorsport, including Formula 1, IndyCar and Champ Car, and sports cars. In 2009, Atlantic graduates will again be top competitors in the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series, the American Le Mans Series, the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series and even the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series among many others. Learn more about Atlantic at www.atlantic-championship.com.

-credit: ac

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Series ATLANTIC