35th Anniversary Atlantic Championship All-Star Team Unveiled at Trois-Rivieres TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec, Canada (August 16, 2008) - With the Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda celebrating its 35th Anniversary this...
35th Anniversary Atlantic Championship All-Star Team Unveiled at Trois-Rivieres
TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec, Canada (August 16, 2008) - With the Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda celebrating its 35th Anniversary this season and returning to the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres for the first time since 2003, the iconic street race in Quebec served as the perfect backdrop for the series to unveil the 35th Anniversary Atlantic Championship All-Star Team.
The 10-member team was determined in voting by a panel of esteemed auto racing journalists and photographers earlier this year and was selected from a field of 25 finalists. Plans are currently being made to honor the 35th Anniversary Atlantic Championship All-Star Team as part of the 2008 season finale at Road Atlanta on October 3.
"We are thrilled to be back at Trois-Rivieres this weekend for the first time in five years and this was the perfect event for us to announce our 35th Anniversary Atlantic Championship All-Star Team," said Atlantic Championship President Vicki O'Connor. "This team represents the very best of the Atlantic Championship over the years and every member of the team truly earned the right to be a part of it. I am grateful to our friends in the media who participated in the selection of the team and I offer my sincere congratulations to every driver who was selected."
Reflective of the series' long history of developing top drivers from Canada and the United States, the team consists of six Canadian drivers and four Americans. A listing of the members of the 35th Anniversary Atlantic Championship All-Star Team follows below in alphabetical order:
A.J. Allmendinger - Only raced in Atlantic for one season (2003), but won the series championship with seven victories, including the race at Trois-Rivieres, and his nine pole positions tied Gilles Villeneuve for the record for most poles in a single season. Allmendinger went on to win races in the Champ Car World Series and now competes in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in the No. 84 Red Bull Racing Toyota.
Claude Bourbonnais - In an Atlantic career that spanned from 1989-93, the Canadian racer claimed 13 career victories, tying him for second place on the all-time win list with Gilles Villeneuve. Bourbonnais also earned 11 pole positions during his Atlantic career, tying him for fourth on the all-time list with Jacques Villeneuve (the brother of Gilles) and Patrick Carpentier. He finished inside the top-three in the championship three times, including runner-up performances to David Empringham in 1993 and Brian Till in the Atlantic Division of the 1990 season. He went on to compete in the 1997 Indianapolis 500, Champ Cars and other forms of road racing and is now coaching young drivers.
Bill Brack - The Canadian competed in Atlantic from its inception in 1974 through 1979 and won the first two series championships in 1974 and 1975. He owns a total of eight career Atlantic victories, including one Trois-Rivieres triumph, and eight pole positions. He now owns a Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Kia dealership in Toronto and his Bill Brack Driving Academy operates from Dunville Autodrome in Dunville, Ontario.
Patrick Carpentier - Another popular Canadian racer, Carpentier competed in Atlantic from 1992 through 1996, and his nine victories in his 1996 championship-winning season tie him with Gilles Villeneuve for the most Atlantic victories in a single season. Carpentier owns a total of 12 career Atlantic victories-including two at Trois-Rivieres-placing him fourth all-time, and he is tied for fourth with Jacques Villeneuve (brother of Gilles) and Claude Bourbonnais on the all-time pole-winners list with 11 career poles. He went on to a successful Champ Car career that yielded five career victories before moving into the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series. This year, he competes full-time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in the No. 10 Gillett Evernham Motorsports Dodge.
Mark Dismore - The Indiana native owns the Atlantic record for most career victories with 15, spread over a career that had two stints, the first from 1989-90 and the second from 1992-94. Dismore's most successful Atlantic season came in 1990, when he won eight races and four pole positions en route to the SCCA/Toyota Atlantic Championship - Pacific Division title. He won at least one race in all but one of his five years in the series and also owns nine career pole positions. He went on to compete in sports cars, winning the 1993 24 Hours of Daytona. He was also an IndyCar competitor, and won the 1999 season finale at Texas Motor Speedway. He now owns and operates a karting facility in New Castle, Ind., as well as Comet Kart Sales in Greenfield, Ind.
David Empringham - In an Atlantic career that stretched from 1992 to 1995, Empringham was one of the most successful drivers in series history, taking 11 victories and five pole positions, as well as back-to-back series championships in 1993 and 1994. His three Atlantic wins at Trois-Rivieres tie him with Jacques Villeneuve (the brother of Gilles Villeneuve) for the most all-time at the historic event. The Canadian bested drivers such as 1997 Formula 1 World Champion and 1995 IndyCar champion and Indianapolis 500 winner Jacques Villeneuve, as well as Atlantic great Claude Bourbonnais eventual Champ Car and IndyCar racers Richie Hearn and Patrick Carpentier and 1999 IndyCar Series champion Greg Ray. He went on to win the 1996 Indy Lights championship and also won the 2006 Grand-Am Cup Series Grand Sport championship. He is a respected driver coach currently working with Mathiasen Motorsports and driver Jonathan Bomarito in the Atlantic Championship.
Jon Fogarty - One of only five drivers in the history of Atlantic to win multiple series championships, Fogarty is the only American driver to win the championship more than once, taking titles in 2002 and 2004. Fogarty owns eight career Atlantic victories and 10 pole positions while racing against drivers such as Michael Valiante, Alex Gurney, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Luis Diaz, Ryan Dalziel and Danica Patrick. Fogarty has become a star in sports car racing, co-driving to the 2007 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype title with Gurney.
Jimmy Vasser - The American driver's Atlantic career began in 1987, but his career as a full-time driver in the series spanned 1990 and 1991. He earned a total of eight victories and 12 pole positions, placing him third on the all-time pole-winners list behind Gilles Villeneuve and Steve Shelton. His best result in the championship was second in 1991 behind the late Jovy Marcelo. Vasser went on to compete in Champ Car, taking the series title in 1996 and a total of 10 victories and nine pole positions. He continues to compete in selected sports car events and is co-owner of KV Racing Technology, which competes in the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series.
Gilles Villeneuve - Arguably the most celebrated Canadian racer in history, Villeneuve competed in Atlantic from 1974 through 1977. He owns a total of three Atlantic titles, taking both the IMSA-sanctioned series and the CASC-sanctioned series in 1976, as well as the 1977 crown. He ranks second on the all-time Atlantic race winners list with 13 victories, including an extremely popular win at Trois-Rivieres in 1976, and he still holds the Atlantic record for most pole positions with 14. He went on to drive for McLaren and Ferrari in Formula 1, taking six Grand Prix victories and two pole positions from 67 starts before his death in a crash during practice for the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix.
Jacques Villeneuve - The brother of Gilles Villeneuve, Jacques had several stints in the Atlantic Championship. His first Atlantic stint, from 1979 through 1981, yielded titles in 1980 and 1981 ahead of drivers such as Tom Gloy, Steve Saleen, Price Cobb and Geoff Brabham. After his second Atlantic title, "Uncle Jacques" went on to win the 1983 Can-Am title, as well as compete in Formula 1 and Champ Car events. He picked up his lone Champ Car race victory in 1985 at Road America. He returned to race in Atlantic events from 1989 through 1998 and owns a total of 10 Atlantic victories and 11 pole positions. He is tied with David Empringham for the most Atlantic victories at Trois-Rivieres with three, and he is the only driver to qualify on the Trois-Rivieres pole position three times. He remains an active snowmobile racer and was the first three-time winner of the World Championship Snowmobile Derby in Eagle River, Wis. He remains active in snowmobile racing and has also gotten into powerboat racing.
The remaining 15 finalists were (in alphabetical order): Michael Andretti, Alex Barron, Price Cobb, Scott Goodyear, Tom Gloy, Richie Hearn, Howdy Holmes, Anthony Lazzaro, Dan Marvin, Roberto Moreno, Hoover Orsi, Bobby Rahal, Buddy Rice, Keke Rosberg and Jacques Villeneuve (son of Gilles Villeneuve).