ROSE FESTIVAL RACES TO HONOR CHAMP CAR SERIES CHAMPION AS GRAND MARSHAL
(Portland, Ore.)- In keeping with the long tradition of auto racing associated with the Portland Rose Festival, Sebastien Bourdais, two-time defending champion of the Champ Car World Series, will serve as Grand Marshal of the 2006 Southwest Airlines Grand Floral Parade, it was announced Thursday.
Bourdais, (pronounced Bor-day) zoomed into the Champ Car scene as rookie of the year in 2003 and followed with unprecedented series wins in both 2004 and 2005, posting nine consecutive top five finishes in 2005. Bourdais has seventeen (17) wins in 46 career starts, capturing 19 pole positions along the way. Starting in a Go-Kart at age 10, Bourdais, 27, was born in one of the world's most well known racing venues, Le Mans, France, and has grown into one of the top race car drivers in the world.
"As the Rose Festival approaches its Centennial Celebration in 2007, it seemed the perfect time to remind people that Champ Car racing got its start right here in Portland during the third annual Rose Festival," said Rose Festival President, Rita Bladow. A quote from the 1909 event program describes the race: "Forty of the fastest cars in America to contest, driven by some of the most noted drivers in the world."
A centerpiece of the annual Rose Festival, the Grand Floral Parade is the nation's second-largest all-floral parade and has been ranked by USA Today as one of the top five parades in America.
"It is an honor to be chosen to represent my sport in such a wonderful event," said Bourdais. "I love racing in Portland, but it will be nice to slow down long enough to see the people who come out on parade morning."
Bourdais who drives for the Newman/Haas Racing team will participate in the Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland presented by G.I. Joe's a week after the parade, June 16-18, an event he won in 2004. The largest auto race in the Pacific Northwest, the Grand Prix features the 240 mph turbocharged open-wheel machines of the Champ Car World Series.
This is not the first time a Champ car driver has served as Grand Marshal. In 1984, the inaugural year of the Portland race, Gordon Johncock and Al Unser, Jr. were tapped to ride in the parade.
Southwest Airlines Grand Floral Parade will take place in downtown Portland on Saturday, June 10 at 10:00 a.m. and will be broadcast live on KGW Northwest NewsChannel 8. Reserved seating for inside and outside the Memorial Coliseum is still available at www.rosefestival.org/ or at Ticketmaster locations. Champ Car tickets can also be purchased through all Ticketmaster locations.