CHAMPCAR/CART: Portland: Pre-race notes

WHO'S HOT The Milwaukee Mile ace Paul Tracy ( ...

WHO'S HOT

The Milwaukee Mile ace Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) made a fearless pass on the outside to take the lead and when the checkers flew he had earned a dominant win by leading 192 of 221 laps. This was Tracy's first win of the 2005 season and his 29th career victory. It also marks the 10th season that Tracy has won a Champ Car race, making him just the 12th driver in series history to score wins in 10 different seasons. This victory moves him into third in the points standings. In last year's Grand Prix of Portland Tracy started and finished third on the 1.969 mile road course.

Justin Wilson (#9 RuSPORT Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) has shaken off his rookie label by finishing fourth in each of the season's first three events. After a solid fourth place finish in Milwaukee, matching his career-best finish, Wilson finds himself second in the points standings, seven digits out of the lead. The last time Wilson was on the Portland circuit he scored his first top-five finish.

2004 Roshfrans Rookie of the Year A.J. Allmendinger (#10 RuSPORT Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) came home from Milwaukee with his career best finish of second and his third career podium. It also marks the first time that he has found himself in the top five in the Champ Car points standings. In his fist Champ Car appearance in Portland, Allmendinger came home with a solid top-ten finish.

Oriol Servia (#2 Pacificare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone), filling in for the injured Bruno Junqueira in the Newman/Haas ride, came home third in Milwaukee to earn the sixth podium of his career. Servia also scored the highest finish for a driver making his debut in a Newman/Haas car since Bruno Junqueira finished third in the 2003 season opener in St. Petersburg. This moves him sixth in Champ Car points race.

ON THE RIGHT TRACK

Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) returns to Portland after a dominating performance last year. After capturing the pole position, Bourdais led 85 of the 94 laps around the 1.969 mile road course.

After a two year stint in Formula One Cristiano da Matta (#21 PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) returns to Portland as the 2002 G.I. Joe's Presents the Grand Prix of Portland Champion. In his last appearance at the scenic road course da Matta started from the pole position and led 55 laps on his way to victory.

Jimmy Vasser (#12 Gulfstream/PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) has started in the top-ten in 10 out of his last 11 starts in Portland. In his 200th consecutive career start last week, Champ Car's Iron Man scored the top starting spot for his ninth career pole as well as the first for PKV Racing. Vasser ran in the top-five all day before coming home in the fifth spot.

2004 Toyota Atlantic Rookie of the Year Andrew Ranger (#27 Mi-Jack/Tide Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) will make his first Champ Car appearance at Portland. He has run well previously in Portland however, as in two Toyota Atlantics starts in Portland, Ranger scored the outside pole position in his first appearance and two top-five finishes.

DID YOU KNOW

Portland International Raceway is built on the former location of the World War II city of Vanport, which was wiped out by a 1948 flood. The Army Corps of Engineers sold the site to the City of Portland in 1960 and in 1961 the first Rose Cup races were held. The Portland Jaycees saw that the abandoned roads of Vanport had the potential to become a road race course and convinced the Rose Festival that they should sponsor a race during their annual celebration. The Portland Road festival has been in existence since 1907, but the first Rose Cup races were not held until June of 1961, starting a tradition that continues today. Champ Cars made their debut during the Rose Festival in 1984, Al Unser Jr. went on to win his first of three victories in this event.

NOTEWORTHY

Portland International Raceway is the site of the closest-ever finish in Champ Car history, as the 1997 race went to Mark Blundell after he beat Gil de Ferran to the line by .027 seconds, with Raul Boesel finishing a scant .028 seconds behind de Ferran. Blundell took the lead on the last lap and nosed out de Ferran for his first series win.

In two of the last three years, there has been a tie for the most laps led in the Portland Grand Prix. In 2002 Cristiano da Matta and Kenny Brack tied leading 55 laps each and in 2003 Paul Tracy and Michel Jourdain each led 42 laps.

This weekend in Portland four rookies will be making their first start at Portland International Raceway. Timo Glock, Marcus Marshall, Ricardo Sperafico, and Bjorn Wirdheim will be making their first racing appearance in Portland. Ronnie Bremer and Andrew Ranger competed in both Toyota Atlantic events last year on the 1.969 mile road course.

Paul Tracy's win in Milwaukee moved Canada into the top spot in the Nation's Cup standings, giving the Great White North a 13-point advantage over France and a lead of 18 markers over England.

BY THE NUMBERS

98- The number of years the Portland Rose Festival has been a staple in the Northwest. 85 -- The number of laps Sebastian Bourdais led in last year's Portland Grand Prix. 55 -- How many laps Cristiano da Matta led in his 2002 victory in the Portland Grand Prix. 22-The number of years Champ Cars have made an appearance at Portland's scenic road course. 9 -- Race record for most cautions, coming on a rainy day in 2001. 6 -- The number of drivers that have earned multiple Champ Car wins at Portland. 5 -- Number of times that the Portland race has been run caution free, the last time coming in 1991. 1.969- The length of this the course at Portland International Raceway.

-ccws-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Al Unser Jr. , Gil de Ferran , Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Raul Boesel , Paul Tracy , Oriol Servia , Mark Blundell , Sébastien Bourdais , A.J. Allmendinger , Bjorn Wirdheim , Ronnie Bremer , Marcus Marshall , Andrew Ranger , Timo Glock , Cristiano da Matta