CHAMPCAR/CART: Portland: Pre-race notes, schedule

WHOS HOT In Houston Robert Doornbos ( ...

WHOS HOT

In Houston Robert Doornbos (#14 Minardi Team USA Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) scored his second podium finish of his young Champ Car career. After taking a few weeks off he came back and led the first day of testing at Mont-Tremblant. This weekend the Dutch Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year leader will be making his first start in Portland.

Graham Rahal (#2 Medi|Zone Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) looks to continue making history after becoming the youngest podium finisher in Champ Car history in Houston. Although this will be his first Champ Car start in Portland he is no stranger to the course as he recorded his first win at PIR in Star Mazda. He also won the Champ Car Atlantic Championship pole here last year, before getting caught up in a first turn incident at the start.

For the second race in a row Tristan Gommendy (#22 Pay-by-Touch Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) spent some time in front of the pack when his PKV Racing team used an alternate pit strategy to get there. The Frenchman held the top spot over a hard charging Sebastien Bourdais, before running out of fuel.

Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) will be returning to Champ Car competition this weekend after sitting out of Long Beach and Houston due to a back injury. The Canadian has six podium finishes, one pole position, and has led a total of 60 laps around the Northwestern Road Course, but in his 16 year Champ Car career has never won at Portland.

Simon Pagenaud (#15 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) finally had Lady Luck smile upon him in Houston as he picked up his first top-five Champ Car finish. The 2006 Atlantic Champion has had a strong start to his rookie campaign so far, but has been able to parlay his speed on the track into a good finish until now. Last year in Atlantic competition the Frenchman qualified on the outside pole, before contact with another car sent him to the back of the field.

ON THE RIGHT TRACK

Portland is a track that Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) has taken to very quickly in his Champ Car career. In three appearances at the track the Brit has yet to qualify outside of the top-four collecting his first career pole position at PIR in 2005, has paced 43 laps and collected his first podium finish in last year's event.

Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonalds Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) may have seen his four race win streak end here last year, but that doesn't mean that Portland has been a track where he has struggled. In just four Champ Car starts the Frenchman has led more laps here than any other active driver with a total of 91 orbits around the course. He also has started on the front row twice and has three podium finishes.

Last year in Portland Bruno Junqueira (#19 Sonny's Bar-B-Q Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) snagged the pole position in the last moments of qualifying. The Brazilian has a strong resume at the Pacific Northwest course collecting four top-six starts and four top-four finishes in five races.

Ryan Dalziel (#28 Pacific Coast Motorsports Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) has celebrated one Atlantic Championship victory in Portland doing it in style during the 2003 event starting from the pole and leading all 35 laps. In four Atlantic starts the Scot has yet to qualify out of the top-seven and has three top-five finishes, two of which were podiums.

NOTEWORTHY

This weekend Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing will be shooting for their 100th win. The first win for the team came in their first year together in 1983 with driver Mario Andretti at Road America. Divers that have visited victory lane for the team include Mario Andretti (18 wins), Michael Andretti (31 wins), Nigel Mansell (5 wins), Paul Tracy (2 wins), Christian Fittipaldi (2 wins), Cristiano da Matta (10 wins), Bruno Junqueira (5 wins), Sebastien Bourdais (25 wins), and Oriol Servia (1 win). The team is also the only one in Champ Car history to win titles with five different drivers (Mario Andretti, Michael Andretti, Nigel Mansell, Cristiano da Matta and Sebastien Bourdais). They have also won at least one race in 23 out of 24 seasons on the Champ Car tour.

In 1997 Mark Blundell and Gil de Ferran staged the closest race in Champ Car history at Portland International Raceway. With the checkered flag hovering in the air Blundell passed the finish like .027 seconds in front of de Ferran.

There has not been a repeat polewinner in Portland since Emerson Fittipaldi went back-to-back in 1991-92. In fact, Fittipaldi and Danny Sullivan are the only drivers to win more than one pole in Portland.

In Champ Car's long history at PIR there has been one or no caution flags flown in 13 of the 24 events. In general the race is one that sees a lot of green flag runs. The only anomaly took place was in 2001 when the yellow banner flew 9 times during a rain soaked event.

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 Portland Jaycees saw Vanport's abandoned roads and thought the layout had potential to become a race course then convinced the Rose Festival that they should sponsor a race during their annual celebration. The first Rose Cup races were held in June of 1961, starting a tradition that continues today. By 1970 the old asphalt of Vanport was in such poor shape that some sanctioning bodies would not sanction races. Because the very popular Rose Cup Races were threatened, the Rose Festival decided to do $100,000 worth of paving if the City would pay them back out of revenues from the racing events held there. In 1984 Champ Car was first brought to Portland as a part of the June Rose Festival and this year will mark their 24th visit to PIR.

BY THE NUMBERS

.027 -- The closest margin of victory in Champ Car history set at PIR. 1 --Laps led by Mario Andretti led on the way to his 1986 PIR win. 3 -- The most wins any one driver has on the Portland Circuit (Michael Andretti and Al Unser Jr.). 3 -- The most times a single driver has started from the pole position in Portland (Danny Sullivan and Emerson Fittipaldi). 3 -- The most consecutive wins a single driver has in Portland (Michael Andretti). 5 -- How many times an Andretti has stood in Victory Lane in Portland. 6 -- How many times the race in Portland has been won from the pole position. 7 -- The number of victories Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing has collected in Portland. 9 -- How many times the Portland winner has gone on to win the series championship. 14 -- There has not been a repeat polewinner in Portland in fourteen years. 24 -- This year celebrates the twenty-fourth Champ Car race at PIR. 40.390 -- The largest margin in seconds the Grand Prix has been won by (Al Unser Jr., 1984).

FAST FACTS

WHAT: Mazda Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland Presented by Joe's Sports and Outdoors

WHERE: Portland, Oregon

WHEN: Friday--Sunday, June 8-10

SUPPORT EVENTS: Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda, Star Mazda Series, Mazda Mx-5 Cup and Formula Drift Championship Series.

CHAMP CAR SCHEDULE (All times local):

FRIDAY, JUNE 8 -- 8:45 --
9:30 a.m., Atlantic practice
10:15 -- 11:30 a.m., Champ Car practice
12:35 -- 1:10 p.m., Atlantic qualifying #1
2:00 - 3:00 p.m., Champ Car qualifying.

SATURDAY, JUNE 9
8:10 -- 8:45 a.m., Atlantic practice
10:15 -- 11:30 a.m., Champ Car practice
12:15 -- 1:15 p.m., Atlantic race #1
2:00 p.m., Champ Car qualifying
4:30p.m. - 4:45 p.m. Atlantic Final Practice.

SUNDAY, JUNE 10
10:00 - 10:30 a.m., Champ Car warmup
11:00 a.m., Atlantic Race #2
1:00 p.m. Champ Car Race.

U.S. TELEVISION SCHEDULE (Eastern Time): SUNDAY, JUNE 10 -- Portland Grand Prix, 4:00 p.m. Eastern time (Live) ABC

2006 CHAMPION: A.J. Allmendinger
2006 POLESITTER: Bruno Junqueira

TRACK LAYOUT: 1.964 --Mile Permanent Road Course
RACE LENGTH: 1 hour, 45 minutes (1:45)

TRACK RECORDS:
Qualifying (one lap) -- 2005, Justin Wilson, 57.597 (122.756 mph).
Race -- 2006, A.J. Allmendinger, 1:45:32.853 (113.989 mph) based on 105 laps (206.220 miles)

RACE ROUND: 4 of 16 in the 2007 Champ Car World Series.

-credit: ccws

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Ryan Dalziel , Justin Wilson , Al Unser Jr. , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Bruno Junqueira , Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Oriol Servia , Nigel Mansell , Mark Blundell , Graham Rahal , Mario Andretti , Danny Sullivan , Sébastien Bourdais , Robert Doornbos , A.J. Allmendinger , Emerson Fittipaldi , Tristan Gommendy , Simon Pagenaud , Cristiano da Matta