CHAMPCAR/CART: Portland race renewed through 2003

Championship Auto Racing Teams and the Portland Rose Festival Association announced they have reached an agreement to extend the contract to run CART's FedEx Championship Series at Portland International Raceway through the 2003 season. The ...

Championship Auto Racing Teams and the Portland Rose Festival Association announced they have reached an agreement to extend the contract to run CART's FedEx Championship Series at Portland International Raceway through the 2003 season.

The announcement was made by CART interim President and CEO Bobby Rahal and Portland Rose Festival officials Ron Bennett and Mack Lai, prior to the running of the Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 Presented by Texaco.

CART first raced in Portland in 1984 and is conducting its 17th event on the 1.969-mile permanent road course this weekend. The new contract contains an option for the 2004 race season that the Rose Festival must exercise by the end of its 2001 event, which is scheduled for June 29-July 1.

"CART has built a great tradition and heritage of racing in Portland," said Rahal, who won the 1987 race here. "The fans are very knowledgeable and warmly welcome us every year and they make this race a very successful event on our schedule. It's terrific for us to be able to solidify and extend the CART presence in Portland."

Bennett was quick to point out the emotional and financial benefits of CART's annual visit to Portland and the Northwest.

"There are an ever-growing number of CART fans here in Portland and throughout the Northwest and we look forward to the FedEx Championship Series coming to Portland with great anticipation every year," said Bennett, chairman of the Rose Festival Auto Racing Committee. "There also is significant financial benefit [estimated to be $30 million annually] to having the CART community join us each year. The CART event adds great value to our Rose Festival celebration and we are thrilled to be able to make this announcement today."

Lai, president of the 2000 Rose Festival, noted that the addition this year of locally based Freightliner as a title sponsor of the event makes the announcement even more special.

"We have such great support for this race, not only from the fans, but from great sponsors as well," Lai said. "G.I. Joe's has long been involved with us and is an excellent partner and the addition this year of Freightliner, whose world headquarters are right here in Portland, strengthens our event and ensures that we have the kind of support needed to bring the Champ Cars to Portland for many years to come."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Bobby Rahal , Ron Bennett