Solid Sunday Portland Score for Skerlong Portland, Oregon (June 10, 2007) -- After Saturday's heroics in Round 4 of the 2007 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered By Mazda, where Seattle's Carl Skerlong battled past...
Solid Sunday Portland Score for Skerlong
Portland, Oregon (June 10, 2007) -- After Saturday's heroics in Round 4 of the 2007 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered By Mazda, where Seattle's Carl Skerlong battled past 17 cars to finish eighth following relegation to the rear of the field after a lap one spin, Sunday's fifth round at the Portland International Raceway, Oregon proved to be somewhat less eventful for the 18-year-old series rookie.
Posting an 11th place finish at the checkered after a 35-lap race disrupted by no-fewer than four full course caution periods, Skerlong recorded a second solid points paying finish at the track he regards as home but was left wishing for a more competitive Sunday outing behind the wheel of the #24 King Taco/US RaceTronics Swift Mazda-Cosworth.
Carl's impressive comeback on Saturday, having qualified eighth for the first of Portland's double-header races, saw the reigning Formula TR Pro Series 2000 Champion's confidence soar, the rookie translating his earlier race pace, where he'd set the second fastest lap, into being the man to beat in the final practice session of the day. Topping the timesheets on the sodden 1.964-mile permanent road course, courtesy of a hot lap of 1m22.468s, Skerlong hoped to carry both his confidence and form into Sunday's 45-minute race.
While conditions were vastly improved over the previous day's racing, Sunday morning's overcast sky bore the constant threat of rain but the field took the standing start all dressed on slick Cooper tires. Carl climbed one spot on the opening lap but dropped to 13th before the first of the day's four full course caution periods presented itself on lap four. Knocking on the door of the top-ten throughout the first half of the race Skerlong finally broke back in there on lap 13 taking tenth while chasing fellow American J.R. Hildebrand ahead in ninth.
Climbing to eighth on-track just prior to the final caution period, the last re-start saw the Washington-native lined up in the sights of his rivals behind as he fought a difficult race car through the corners. With his US RaceTronics team-mate David Garza passing on lap 26 Carl then lapped in eleventh, a position he successfully defended through to the checkered nine laps later. Canadian's Kevin Lacroix and James Hinchcliffe finished 1-2 at the flag with France's Franck Perera completing the podium.
"Things just didn't work out for us today," Skerlong commented. "Unfortunately we never really had the car where we needed to be. It's frustrating as everybody worked really hard to build on yesterday's performance, we thought we might have a good thing going but it just wasn't there today in the race. I couldn't get off the corners quick enough and people got me on the straights. I expected a little more given this is my home track but looking at the positives we had a couple of good points scores. We'll learn from the weekend and move on to Cleveland in a couple of weeks!"