Following a lengthy break after the Fast Trac 100 in Houston back in April, the 2007 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda returns for Rounds 4 and 5 to Portland International Raceway this weekend in top gear...
Following a lengthy break after the Fast Trac 100 in Houston back in April, the 2007 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda returns for Rounds 4 and 5 to Portland International Raceway this weekend in top gear for their doubleheader event, which is sure to thrill all.
This 1.946-mile permanent road course situated in a lush state park could prove challenging for Canada's 20-year-old James Hinchcliffe (#9 NOCO/ProWorks), who dominated Round 4 of last year's event and brought home a Forsythe Racing 1-3 finish. Hinchcliffe is excited about getting back into the car and states that he is "under no illusion about heading back to Portland even though [he] won there last season", but feels that their testing during the break was very productive and they have "developed a really competitive road course car". Hinchcliffe returns to Portland International Raceway as part of Sierra Sierra Enterprises this year, teamed with points leader Raphael Matos (#6 ProWorks).
Matos, who reigned victorious over the first three races of the season, taking the checkered flag in Las Vegas, Long Beach and Houston, could be said as being a shoe-in this weekend. With a quarter of the season done, Matos has a 23-point advantage over Jonathan Bomarito (#23 Miracle Sealants/Konica Minolta/Dynacor), but contends that this winning streak -- longest since the three-in-a-row achieved by Jon Fogarty in 2004 -- is far from safe.
Though testing during this 6-week break has been successful for many, Seattle's 18-year-old Carl Skerlong (#24 King Taco/US RaceTronics) kept his racing skills up in another recent doubleheader at Portland International Raceway, this past weekend during SCCA's 47th Annual Rose Cup race meet, taking victory with a substantial lead in both the National and Regional events for his class. After his early Atlantic success in Houston where he took second, Skerlong boasts, "I don't have to worry about learning the track this time round and hopefully we'll be on it straight out of the box!"
With an expected 28 car field for the Atlantic doubleheader at this weekend's Mazda Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland Presented by Joe's Sports and Outdoor (Round 4 - Saturday, June 9 - 12:15 p.m. (PDT), Round 5 - Sunday, June 10 - 11:00 a.m. (PDT), 28 of those drivers are considered rookies for this season which is sure to make for two of the most exhilarating races in one weekend.