With the Atlantic Series celebrating moving closer to the end of its fourth decade and returning to the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres for the first time since 2003, the iconic Quebec street race served as the perfect backdrop for the series to unveil its 35th anniversary All-Star Team.
The ten-member team was selected from a field of 25 finalists by a panel of esteemed racing journalists and photographers earlier this year, and reflects the series' long history of developing drivers from Canada and the United States. The final list, which spans all 35 years of the series, consists of six Canadians and four Americans, while a handful of 'overseas' stars populate the 'nearly' men.
“We were thrilled to be back at Trois-Rivieres 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,” series president Vicki O'Connor commented, “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.”
Plans are currently being made to honour the All-Star Team as part of the 2008 season finale on 3 October, which could see at least some of the following joining this year's crop of hopefuls at Road Atlanta:
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 #84 Red Bull Racing Toyota.
In an Atlantic career that spanned 1989-93, the Canadian claimed 13 career victories, tying him for second place on the all-time win list with Gilles Villeneuve. Bourbonnais also earned eleven pole positions during his Atlantic career, tying him for fourth on the all-time list with Gilles' brother Jacques 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.
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 the Bill Brack Driving Academy.
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 twelve career Atlantic victories - including two at Trois-Rivieres - placing him fourth all-time, and he is tied for fourth with Gilles' brother Jacques and Claude Bourbonnais on the all-time pole-winners list with eleven. He went on to a successful Champ Car career that yielded five career victories before moving into the Indy Racing League. This year, he competes full-time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in the #10 Gillett Evernham Motorsports Dodge.
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 sportscars, 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 and sales outlet in Indiana.