Atlantic Championship Graduates Dalziel, Barbosa and Bomarito Score Victories in Rolex 24 At Daytona

04.02.2010: Twenty-Five Former Atlantic Drivers Compete in 2010 Rendition of Prestigious 24-Hour Race Graduates of the Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda proved once again over the weekend why Atlantic is North

Twenty-Five Former Atlantic Drivers Compete in 2010 Rendition of Prestigious 24-Hour Race


Graduates of the Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda proved once again over the weekend why Atlantic is North America’s top open-wheel driver development program. Twenty-five former Atlantic drivers competed in the Rolex 24 At Daytona endurance race, and esteemed series graduates Ryan Dalziel, Joao Barbosa and Jonathan Bomarito earned class victories.

“It’s so fulfilling to see our drivers graduate from Atlantics with the skill and experience needed to be able to take on one of motorsports toughest endurance races,” said Ben Johnston, President, Atlantic Championship. “The Rolex 24 at Daytona was a great showing for all of our drivers and all of us at the Atlantic Championship couldn’t be more proud of them. Two of our drivers even took the win in both of their respective classes, which is a great testament to just how well the Atlantic Championship tests and builds today’s drivers into tomorrow’s champions.”

Dalziel and Barbosa combined with co-drivers Terry Borcheller and Mike Rockenfeller to take the overall and Daytona Prototype class victory in the No. 9 Action Express Racing Porsche Riley by 52.303 seconds over the No. 02 BMW Riley from TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Dalziel competed in the Atlantic Championship from 2002 through 2004, finishing second in the championship in both 2003 and 2004 and earning six victories during his Atlantic career. Barbosa contested the full 1997 Atlantic campaign and finished seventh in the championship with five top-five results, highlighted by runs of second at Trois-Rivieres and Road America.

“I think all four of us went into this race with a major unknown,” Dalziel said. “We were pretty lost in practice and I think the one thing that I knew was that the team was going to perform, but the question was reliability. I felt if we could be reliable, we’ll be there at the end. After the first couple of hours, it was obvious that we were fast. I think that regardless of what may have happened with other cars, the important thing to take was that we never went off track. We never had any mechanicals or any flaws in the pits. I think this is a huge achievement for a new team.”

Bomarito, meanwhile, joined forces with Sylvain Tremblay, David Haskell and Nick Ham to take the second Rolex 24 GT-class victory in three years for the No. 70 SpeedSource Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8 team. Bomarito previously competed in Atlantic in 2004 and 2006 through 2009 and owns five career victories in the series. He finished an Atlantic career best of second in the 2008 championship and will co-drive the No. 70 Mazda with Tremblay throughout the 2010 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16.

“It’s amazing,” Bomarito said. “I was fortunate enough to do this race with these same three guys last year and to be able to come back and have that continuity and that relationship, we just felt so confident with all of each others’ ability and the car. We knew what we had to do. We just had to stay out of trouble and keep the car on the track and we did that. Here we are. I’ve got a new Rolex. I can’t believe it.”

It was the second consecutive year that an Atlantic graduate was part of the overall-winning Rolex 24 team, as 2000 Atlantic champion and 2004 Indy 500 winner Buddy Rice took home the overall win last year as part of Brumos Racing. Two years ago, then-reigning Atlantic champion Raphael Matos combined with Ham, Tremblay and Haskell to win the GT class in the Rolex 24.

Other Atlantic graduates in the Daytona Prototype field included Ryan Hunter-Reay, who finished third in the DP class; Michael Valiante and 2003 Atlantic champion AJ Allmendinger (seventh); 2002 and 2004 Atlantic champion Jon Fogarty, Alex Gurney and Jimmy Vasser (eighth); Memo Gidley (10th); Matos (11th); Mike Forest (12th); Rice (13th); and Romeo Kapudija and Dane Cameron (14th). Former Atlantic drivers in GT included Andy Lally (third); Bill Auberlen and Joey Hand (eighth); Romain Dumas (ninth); Ross Bentley (13th); 1999 Atlantic champion Anthony Lazzaro (16th); Guy Cosmo (17th); Zak Brown (20th); Davy Jones (23rd) and 2009 Atlantic champion John Edwards (28th).

The 2010 season will get underway at Sebring International Raceway on Friday, March 19 as part of festivities for the prestigious Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh From Florida.

About Atlantic Championship


The Atlantic Championship series is the premier ladder series for up-and-coming professional race car drivers around the world. For over 36 years, the Atlantic Championship has facilitated the launch of racing careers into Formula 1, NASCAR, IndyCar and other forms of professional motorsport. Atlantic Championship vehicles are ultra-lightweight, powerful, open-wheeled vehicles that help prepare drivers for top tier global competition. For 2010, Mazda and Cooper Tire title sponsor the Atlantic Championship and provide some of the world class components used in competition. For more information please visit AtlanticChampionship.com


- Andy Williamson-

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04.02.2010 / MaP

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