CHAMPCAR/CART: Portland: Rocketsports Racing race report

PORTLAND RESULTS NOT GREAT FOR ROCKETSPORTS RACING BUT DOES PROVE THERE IS MORE TO COME FROM THE TEAM THIS SEASON PORTLAND, Oregon (June 18, 2006) - Rocketsports Racing's drivers did the best they could today in Portland for Round Five of ...

PORTLAND RESULTS NOT GREAT FOR ROCKETSPORTS RACING BUT DOES PROVE THERE IS MORE TO COME FROM THE TEAM THIS SEASON

PORTLAND, Oregon (June 18, 2006) - Rocketsports Racing's drivers did the best they could today in Portland for Round Five of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season, but the results do not reflex the potential that can come from its two drivers Nicky Pastorelli and Tonis Kasemets.

Pastorelli, who earned his best qualifying start in his Champ Car career of 11th, had an unfortunate run through the famed-Festival Curves at the Portland International Raceway during the first lap. Coming close to making it through the challenging first turns, Pastorelli was knocked off course and had a run through the grass, which caused not only a flat tire, but damage to the #8 Bavaria City Racing/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone car.

Coming in for an early pit stop on Lap 2 to change the damaged left-rear tire, Pastorelli went a lap down. He was able to hold his own until the checkered flag finishing the race in the 17th spot. He posted his best race-lap time of 1:01.035 (115.842 mph) on Lap 71. A disappointing end to the weekend that looked as if he could earn his best finish in a Champ Car after making four starts.

Kasemets not only made his first Champ Car start in Portland, after sweeping the Atlantic field earning two victories in Portland's Atlantic double-header event last year, but became the first Estonian-born driver to compete in the Champ Car World Series. Starting in the 18th spot, Kasemets was able to gain two spots to earn his first Champ Car finish in the 16th spot. He ran a good, clean r ace, posting his fastest race time on Lap 68 with a time of 1:01.255 (115.426 mph). Kasemets will be one to watch this season, as he will continue to compete in the series with the team for at least five more events this season.

Dan Clarke was the only rookie out of a total of seven in the freshman class to finish in the top ten. The rest of the rookies finished towards the back of the field, indicating that this 1.969-mile permanent road course in Portland is a challenging one for those new to it. Kasemets was able to complete the race this afternoon and bring the #18 Flexovit Abrasives/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone car home for the first time in 2006 in his first race.

Nicky Pastorelli #8 Bavaria City Racing/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone "I was hit from the side-rear and that sent me off into the grass. I had to come in and change my tire because the left-rear tire had been cut and gone flat. From the spin after the contact, the #8 Bavaria City Racing/Rocketsports car suffered damage on the front wing and rear suspension. That resulted in a bad car for the rest of the race day for me. It is so unfortunate because there was nothing that I could do, except finish the race. It is a shame because we had such a good start, which I am sure would have resulted in a good finish in the top-ten. But we keep improving, and now we will move to Cleveland and see what we can do there."

Tonis Kasemets #18 Flexovit Abrasives/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone "It was very hard work out there today, but it was a lot of fun. I could have been more competitive if I didn't have to watch my mirrors so much, but we did our best. This is a wicked opportunity that Paul (Gentilozzi) and Rocketsports has given me. I will try to do a better job for the next race and I think everything is goin g to come together perfectly. I am happy that I was able to accomplish my goal that I made coming into this weekend, which was to finish the race. It may not have been very high on the charts, but we finished! Now I will move on to Cleveland and continue to work with my driving and the team to get a faster #18 Flexovit Abrasives/Rocketsports car."

Paul Gentilozzi, Rocketsports Racing Team Owner "It looked like Servia just clipped Nicky and it does not take much for a tire to cut when it is sheared by a front wing of a Champ Car. It was an unfortunate incident for Nicky, who was doing such a great job this weekend, but this is Portland. However, he showed the driver that he is, and continued on in the race and made his third finish in Champ Car. There is a lot more to come from this young-talented driver, and hopefully Cleveland will be his event to get the results he really deserves."

"Tonis did a wonderful job today. A Champ Car is a lot different from an Atlantic car, so it was going to be a long, hard, and challenging weekend for him. He gave it is all, and I can see the determination in this guy that I am so happy to have him on board with us. He is going to be a wonderful driver in this series. It was important for him to get seat time this weekend, and finishing the race proved he has what it takes to run in Champ Car. We are proud of him, and look forward to the upcoming races as he continues to learn more about the car and really displays the talent he has hidden beneath."

-rocketsports racing

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Paul Gentilozzi , Tonis Kasemets , Nicky Pastorelli , Dan Clarke