Throughout the week leading up to the Atlantic Championship season finale, teams and drivers paid tribute to Newman Wachs Racing co-owner Paul Newman, who passed away a week prior to the event at the age of 83, but the recognition continued at Road Atlanta.
Every car in the Atlantic field carried special decals bearing Newman's initials, PLN, for the weekend showdown, while Newman Wachs drivers Jonathan Summerton and Simona de Silvestro also wore PLN patches on their racesuits. A moment of silence was also observed before the race, with a special remembrance planned for the end-of-season awards banquet at the Chateau Elan Resort & Winery.
“Paul Newman was a racing icon, and we were fortunate to count him as a team owner and friend in the Atlantic Championship,” said series president Vicki O'Connor, “Our hearts obviously go out to Paul's partner, Eddie Wachs, the Newman Wachs Racing team, and all of Paul's many friends and family as they continue to deal with this loss. We hope our tributes will provide some comfort to them.”
A long-time race driver and team owner, as well as an Academy Award-winning actor, Newman joined forces with Wachs to field an Atlantic Championship team for the first time in 2006. Now in its third season of competition, the team celebrated its first series victory with de Silvestro in the 2008 season-opener at Long Beach, while Summerton has since added two wins - at Edmonton and Road America - and headed into the finale as one of three title contenders.