HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (February 4, 2002) -- With the green flag for the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship's debut in Mexico quickly approaching, the roster that will make up the 2002 Championship is starting to finalize, and it appears to be a wide...
HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (February 4, 2002) -- With the green flag for the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship's debut in Mexico quickly approaching, the roster that will make up the 2002 Championship is starting to finalize, and it appears to be a wide open race for the season ending trophy. On the current roster, only two drivers have won a race in Atlantic competition. 2001 Rookie of the Year, Joey Hand, returns with DSTP Motorsports with two wins last season and Rocky Moran Jr., fresh off of winning his first career Atlantic race at the season ending race last year at Laguna Seca, joins forces with Sigma Autosport.
Also returning for 2002, are a group of drivers that knocked on the door for their first wins and appear to be a lock to break into victory lane this season. Headlining this list is Lynx Racing's duo of Michael Valiante and Grant Ryley who both grabbed runner-up finishes last year. Jonathan Macri and Rodolfo Lavin will return with their respective teams this year of P-1 Racing and Michael Shank Racing. Macri had a solid rookie season with P-1 finishing fifth in the Championship. Lavin finished seventh in his rookie debut with Michael Shank Racing and reports from winter testing have raised Lavin into the Championship hunt. Alex Gurney will return to Atlantic competition after spending a year overseas. With Atlantic experience, Gurney's addition to Dorricott Racing's debut in the Atlantic Championship could be the edge they need to contend for the title.
Dorricott Racing leads the list of first year teams eager to challenge long time Atlantic teams for this year's title. Rookies, Jon Fogarty and Luis Diaz will join Dorricott on their trek from the Dayton Indy Lights Championship over to the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship. Hylton Motorsports will try to defend their 2001 Atlantic Championship with Ryan Hunter-Reay taking over the driving duties for Hoover Orsi. Reay finished fifth in the Barber Dodge Pro Series last year and will be joined by the runner-up in the series, Sepp Koster, who will team with Lavin at Michael Shank Racing. Fellow Barber Dodge driver, David Wieringa, will join the series as another example of the CART Ladder system at work. Wieringa will join Moran Jr. with the new Sigma Autosport team. Worldspeed Motorsports' Alex Figge, will fill the seat vacated by Grant Ryley after competing in the USF2000 Championship last season. Scuadra Fortia will make its Atlantic debut this season with a two car effort. Eduardo Figueroa from Mexico and Argentinean driver, Waldemar Coronas will pilot the two cars. Several more teams are schedule to announce more drivers in the upcoming weeks.
The teams will take to the track for the first time on Thursday, March 7, 2002 as they prepare for the season opening race in Monterrey, Mexico on Saturday, March 9, 2002. Here is the complete listing of the current 2002 teams and drivers:
#1 Ryan Hunter-Reay(R) USA Hylton Motorsports
#2 TBA TBA Jensen Motorsports
#3 Rocky Moran Jr. USA Sigma Autosport
#4 David Wieringa(R) USA Sigma Autosport
#5 Sepp Koster(R) BLG Michael Shank Racing
#6 Frank Dancs USA Condor Motorsports
#8 TBA TBA Transnet Racing
#11 Rodolfo Lavin MEX Michael Shank Racing
#12 TBA TBA Brooks Racing Assoc.
#14 Alex Figge(R) USA World Speed Motorsports
#16 TBA TBA Margraf Racing
#18 Bob Siska USA RJS Motorsports
#19 Michael Valiante CAN Lynx Racing
#23 Grant Ryley USA Lynx Racing
#24 Steve Romak(R) USA Autospa
#25 DeWayne Cassel(R) USA JPT Motorsport
#26 David Cutler USA P-1 Racing
#27 Joey Hand USA DSTP Motorsports
#31 Jonathan Macri CAN P-1 Racing
#32 Jon Fogarty(R) USA Dorricott Racing
#33 Luis Diaz(R) MEX Dorricott Racing
#34 Alex Gurney USA Dorricott Racing
#43 Waldemar Coronas(R) ARG Scuadra Fortia
#67 Marc Devilles(R) USA Sierra Sierra
#77 Scott Lampkin(R) USA Crossover Motorsports
#81 Carl Russo(R) USA Performance Development & Racing
#86 Eduardo Figueroa(R) MEX Scuadra Fortia
TBA TBA TBA Michael Shank Racing
TBA TBA TBA Indy Regency Racing
The CART Toyota Atlantic Championship is one of the world's premier open-wheel development series and the top rung on CART's "ladder system", which features a one million dollar year-end points fund and $100,000 races purses. It is also noted for its long history of graduating its stars into CART competition. Among the drivers who have graduated from the Atlantic Series are CART Champ Car stars Michael Andretti, Jimmy Vasser, Alex Barron, Memo Gidley, Patrick Carpentier, Alex Tagliani as well as former series champions Bobby Rahal, Danny Sullivan and Jacques Villeneuve.