CHAMPCAR/CART: Portland race extension agreement reached

City of Portland reaches agreement in principle with CART Champ Car to build long-term series presence at PIR. PORTLAND (June 22, 2003) -- Portland commissioner Jim Francesconi, CART Champ Car President and CEO Christopher R. Pook and the ...

City of Portland reaches agreement in principle with CART Champ Car to build long-term series presence at PIR.

PORTLAND (June 22, 2003) -- Portland commissioner Jim Francesconi, CART Champ Car President and CEO Christopher R. Pook and the Portland Parks Department-- in conjunction with the Portland/CART Business Coalition-- announced today that they have agreed in principle to a business agreement to continue the 20-year tradition that has made the annual CART Champ Car World Series race at Portland International Raceway a key part of the annual Rose Festival calendar.

The announcement was made jointly Sunday by Francesconi and Pook, who were joined by Mike Nealy, President of the Global Events Group, just prior to the running of the 20th annual G.I. Joe's 200 at PIR. The agreement gives CART Champ Car a three-year contract to race at the 1.969-mile road course.

"CART Champ Car has been the signature open-wheel racing event in our city for 20 years and we look forward to maintaining that relationship," said Francesconi. "We are pleased that CART has agreed to include specific performance measurements in the final contract that will guarantee that the citizens of Portland and the Northwest will continue to enjoy world-class racing at Portland International Raceway."

The deal allows CART Champ Car to participate in the further development of the race circuit, and gives the series a firm foothold in the Pacific Northwest with the Portland and Vancouver events making CART Champ Car the premier open-wheel racing series to compete in the coveted Northwest region of the nation.

"This is a big part of our long-term strategy for the series and I need to thank the members of the Portland/CART Business Coalition for their support in making this happen," Pook said. "Getting the business community involved in the event is a key part of continuing the event's legacy established by the Rose Festival, and their help will make this event one of the key annual attractions in the region."

"We are grateful for the efforts and decisive leadership of Commissioner Francesconi in reaching this important agreement," said Nealy, whose company has organized the race since its inception and this year serves as CART Champ Car's operating partner. "This will create a win-win-win situation for the City of Portland, its residents, its business community and all the companies involved in CART Champ Car."

The Portland/CART Business Coalition -- which includes The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, The Oregon Sports Authority, Portland Business Alliance, The Portland Oregon Visitors Association and Portland Rose Festival Association -- has committed to playing a larger role in marketing the event and activating the business community around the event.

Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (NYSE: MPH) owns, operates and markets the 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. Veteran teams such as Newman/Haas Racing, Player's/Forsythe Racing, Team Rahal, Fernandez Racing, Patrick Racing, Herdez Competition, Walker Racing are among the teams competing for the Vanderbilt Cup. CART Champ Cars are thoroughbred racing machines that reach speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour, showcasing the technical expertise of manufacturers such as Ford Motor Company, Lola Cars, Reynard Motorsport and Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire, LLC. The 19-race 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford will be broadcast by television partners CBS and SPEED Channel. CART also owns and operates its top development series, the Toyota Atlantic Championship. Learn more about CART's open-wheel racing series at www.cart.com.

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Series IndyCar