Champ Car loses respected race day steward

Tony Cotman has resigned his position of vice president of operations and race director for the Champ Car World Series.

As Champ Car's race day chief steward, the 43-year-old New Zealand native earned a reputation for being tough but consistent and fair, earning respect from the drivers in a series where officials were often openly mocked in the past. Cotman also streamlined Champ Car's racing and technical operations, maintaining high standards while cutting costs.

"He came back from the break and tried to get into the spirit of the offseason, but I think his heart just wasn't in it," said David Higdon, Champ Car's vice-president of strategic operations. "Tony did a great job in his many roles, and we obviously need to find someone who can handle the pressure of race control."

Cotman was a race mechanic from 1990 to 2004 in CART and IRL, rising to a team management position at Andretti Green Racing and moving with Andretti Green to IRL when that team switched leagues. He joined Champ Car's management team prior to the 2005 season and was soon regarded as one of the series' strongest assets. He has pledged to assist Champ Car in locating and training his successor.

In other Champ Car news, Andretti Green said that Champ Car Atlantic series champion Rafael Matos will forego that series' $2 million career enhancement bonus prize and will instead drive for AGR in the Indy Pro Series. Matos, a 26-year old Brazilian, will also drive selected endurance races for AGR's factory Acura team in the American Le Mans Series.

John Oreovicz covers open-wheel racing for National Speed Sport News and ESPN.com.