Portland: Dorricott Racing preview

Dorricott Racing looking for a "four-peat" at Portland. PORTLAND, Ore. (June 13, 2002) - Dorricott Racing's return to Portland International Raceway could be a curse or a blessing in seeking its fourth consecutive Portland victory in round five...

Dorricott Racing looking for a "four-peat" at Portland.

PORTLAND, Ore. (June 13, 2002) - Dorricott Racing's return to Portland International Raceway could be a curse or a blessing in seeking its fourth consecutive Portland victory in round five of the 12-race Toyota Atlantic Championship, Saturday, June 15.

The 35 lap/68.915 mile Atlantic sprint around Portland's 10-turn, 1.969-mile road course will be the inaugural running of Atlantic at PIR. The green flag is scheduled to drop at 3:30 p.m. (PT), and is the featured support race in the CART FedEx Championship G.I. Joe's 200 to be run on Sunday.

The curse is a thought along the lines of "familiarity breeds contempt." Dorricott Racing has had a monopoly on the Portland podium since 1999 including three consecutive wins and pole positions. A blessing would be past success creating a pathway for Dorricott Racing's driver trio of Jon Fogarty, Alex Gurney, and Luis Diaz to return to the Portland podium for a fourth consecutive year - a modern day track record for a CART-sanctioned support series and team.

A retrospective look of Dorricott Racing's dominance in Portland is in order. It began in 1999 when FedEx CART driver Oriol Servia, of Catalonia, won the pole in the Dayton Indy Lights Championship. His Dorricott Racing teammate, Philipp Peter, of Austria, won the race.

The 2000 Indy Lights race mirrored 1999. Dorricott Racing prevailed with current Patrick Racing CART Fed Ex rookie Townsend Bell, of San Luis Obispo, Calif., winning his first career Indy Lights pole. His teammate Jason Bright, of Australia, won the race after starting on the outside pole.

Bell followed his pole position in 2000 with an encore pole last year in setting an Indy Lights track record of 1:04.991 = 109.067 mph.

Meanwhile, Damien Faulkner, of Ireland, who started third on the grid, led 22 of 38 laps to cross the finish line an astounding 16.134-seconds ahead of Rudy Junco, of Mexico. The 25 year-old Irishman toured PIR at an average race speed of 76.116 mph. It was Faulkner's second career Indy Lights victory in only his fifth Indy Lights start.

For Fogarty, of Portola Valley, Calif., returning to Portland will be bitter-sweet. He was new to Dorricott Racing last year and came to Portland in 10th place in the Dayton Indy Lights Championship with 22 points. Unfortunately, his season took a disturbing twist when he was forced to withdraw from the race due to a herniated disk located between his C-3 and C-4 vertebrae. He missed the following five races before returning for round 10 at Road Atlanta.

What a difference a year can make. This time, Fogarty, who is currently in second place in the Atlantic championship with 46 points, aims to regain the series lead - a distinction he held since his season opening victory at Monterrey, Mexico, until last Saturday at Monterey, California. While running an uncontested second place with six laps remaining at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Fogarty was sidelined and relegated to a "DNF" due to a blown engine on the Thomas Fogarty Winery & Vineyards Swift 014.a

Gurney, of Newport Beach, Calif., continued to close the championship margin with a sixth place finish at Laguna Seca. This was on the heels of fourth place in round three at Milwaukee. Combined with his second round runner-up finish at Long Beach in the Behr-Castrol Swift 014.a., Gurney is in a tie for fifth place with Rodolfo Lavin with 39 points.

Diaz, of Mexico City, had tough luck at Laguna Seca though little, if any, was his fault. After finishing ninth at Milwaukee, Diaz was running strong at Laguna Seca before accidental and incidental contact with Gurney while entering a tight corner caused him to run off course and lose a couple of positions on lap 15. Diaz pitted for a precautionary inspection of his car's rear suspension before resuming.

Trouble resurfaced later in the race when he was struck by Jonathon Macri. Although he lost more positions, Diaz was able to continue for a hard-earned 15th place finish in the Telmex Swift 014.a

"I have high expectations about this race because we tested well at PIR and I feel like this is my type of track," said Diaz. "It is also important to me to show why Dorricott Racing has faith in me and to prove to it and my sponsors that the last few races were matters of bad luck."

Diaz proved his skill on a road course earlier this year when he won the pole at Monterrey, Mexico, in a blistering record time of 1:27.089 (86.973 mph) around the 12-turn, 2.104-mile Fundidora Park. It was his first career pole position in a major international racing series. Diaz is eighth place the TAC with 27 points

Fogarty holds a slim three-point lead for Atlantic Rookie-of-the-Year honors over Roger Yasukawa, 46-43. Diaz is in fourth place with 27 points.

Portland will hold added motivation for Dorricott Racing in light of the recent passing of beloved team owner, Bob Dorricott. Dorricott passed away Friday, April 26, at his family home in Los Altos Hills, Calif., of cancer. He was 65. Besides being one of most respected names in North American formula-style, open-wheel racing, Dorricott was directly responsible for his team winning two Dayton Indy Lights Championships in 1999 and 2001, and Indy Lights runner-up honors in 2000.

Speed Channel will provide a same day delayed telecast of the Toyota Atlantic Championship from Portland International Raceway at 10:00 p.m. ET (7:00 p.m. PT), Saturday, June 15.

Dorricott Racing is a year-round professional motorsports organization with its race shop located in Bakersfield, Calif. Detailed race results, team, and sponsor information are available on Dorricott Racing's official web site, www.dorricottracing.com.

-dr-

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About this article
Series Atlantic
Drivers Alex Gurney , Oriol Servia , Jon Fogarty , Townsend Bell , Luis Diaz , Damien Faulkner , Roger Yasukawa , Rodolfo Lavin , Jason Bright , Philipp Peter , Rudy Junco