CHAMPCAR/CART: Portland Walker Racing Preview

GIL DE FERRAN ...

GIL DE FERRAN # 5 VALVOLINE/CUMMINS - HONDA/REYNARD/GOODYEAR

MEMO GIDLEY # 15 ALPINE - HONDA/REYNARD/GOODYEAR

RACE PREVIEW: PORTLAND

What: BUDWEISER/G.I. JOE'S 200 PRESENTED BY TEXACO/HAVOLINE Round eight of the 20-races FedEx Championship Series for the PPG Cup

When: Sunday June 20th , 1999 at 1:00 PM.

Where: Portland International Raceway Portland, Oregon. CART moves on to the first natural terrain road course of the season. PIR is within the city limits of the City of Portland and is located just west off from the I-5 Freeway (exit 306-B), about 6 miles west of Portland International Airport.

Distance: 192.766 miles, 98 laps. Reconfigured circuit, new length to be determined by measurement of OMEGA.

The Circuit: Track Length : Without "Festival Turns" - 192.766 miles and 9 turns. Track Surface : No banked turns with only five feet of elevation changes. Greatest variety of corners. Long straightaway followed by as tight and as slow a corner as you could possibly have. Broadcast:. ESPN2 CART Qualifying 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM ET (06/19) ESPN2 CART 2Day 12:00 NOON - 12:30 PM ET (06/20) 93.3 FM CART Radio 1:00 PM - (06/20) ABC CART Race 4:00 PM ET - (06/20) EuroSport CART Race 22:00 GMT - (06/20) ESPN CART Replay 1:00 PM ET (06/22)

1998 Champion : Alex Zanardi Defending Polesitter: Bryan Herta Track Records: Qualifying (one lap):1998, Bryan Herta, 121.341 mph (58.358 sec) Race:1996, Alex Zanardi, 104.742 mph

1999 Cart Point Leaders:

1. Juan Montoya -                 73 
2. Dario Franchitti -                 71 
3. Greg Moore -                 69 
4. Michael Andretti -                 61 
5. Christian Fittipaldi -         61 
6. Adrian Fernandez -                 53 
7. Gil de Ferran -                 50

Portland "Fast Facts"

The Setup: Most difficult type of circuit to set up a car for, because there is such a wide speed range: 65- to 145-mph corners. Mechanical grip: Springing, ride height and road control are extremely important.

Driving Style : You must be as aggressive as possible in the low-speed corners, but change your technique to be very smooth when you go faster. Portland is rather unique in its layout with a strong emphasis on fast right hand turns

Fuel Consumption: Traditionally there are very few yellows at this track, therefore, relying on yellows to stretch fuel is probably not an option. Strategy must be based on the assumption that all stops will occur under green flag conditions. Under dry conditions teams will have to strive to find a balance between fuel mileage and speed. At PIR, you can use a lot of RPM range due to straights and corners, which can increase fuel consumption.

Pit Stops: Assuming the race is run under dry conditions, it should be a two stop race. If the weather is uncooperative, there could be several pit stops due to tire changes (slicks to wets or vice versa)

GIL DE FERRAN # 5 VALVOLINE/CUMMINS - HONDA/REYNARD/GOODYEAR

RACE PREVIEW: PORTLAND

Gil de Ferran: looking forward to race at Portland International Raceway "I'm happy and excited to race in this type of course. We tested here recently and that always makes you feel more confident" On racing in the rain " I like to run in the rain because it challenges you more. It takes totally different skills and techniques to run well in the wet. The one big drawback with the rain is safety. If you're running out in front, it's great, but if you're back in the line-up you're going to have a very difficult time seeing, and therefore racing safety and competitively."

History:. De Ferran finished second at Portland in 1997 by .027 second to Mark Blundell, the closest finish in CART history. He led 11 laps in the rain-shortened event. Gil also finished second at Portland in 1996 and was 10 in 1995.

Year                Start                Finish
1998                9th                20th                 Contact
1997                2nd                 2nd 
1996                9th                 2nd 
1995                6th                 10th          

MEMO GIDLEY # 15 ALPINE - HONDA/REYNARD/GOODYEAR

RACE PREVIEW: PORTLAND

Walker Racing To Field Second Car Memo Gidley to fill in for injured Naoki Hattori

The 29-year-old American will fill in for fellow CART rookie Naoki Hattori, who was injured in an opening lap crash at the Grand Prix of Miami in March. Gidley will drive the team's Honda-powered Champ Car in all CART road course and street circuit events until Hattori's rehabilitation from leg injuries is complete.

Memo Gidley:

"The beginning of my racing career with Champ Cars at Portland, it's very exciting for me. I dream to race at this level of competition. Portland its a great place, a sea town very similar to where I was raised, it .feels like home."

"When I first got in the car at Putnam Park, I felt comfortable immediately. The Honda engine produces an awesome amount of power in a very linear, driveable way, and the Reynard chassis is very predictable and responds well to changes. And not only did the team members make me feel very welcome, but I was impressed with how aggressively they attack everything that needs doing."

" I know I'm moving up into the most competitive form of open-wheel racing in the world, but I can't imagine a better team to do it with. I can't wait to race at Portland, we spent two days testing here, I really like the track."

Biography : Jose Guillermo " Memo " Gidley Birthdate: Sept. 29, 1969 Birthplace: La Paz, Mexico (aboard a sailboat) Residence: San Rafael, Calif.

Born in La Paz, Mexico, Jose Guillermo Gidley, he is a fisherman's son who lived aboard a 1930s cutter " Yo Ho" with two sisters and a dog named Huckleberry , on six out of 12 months every year until he was 13.

"My father was a commercial fisherman for 30 years and split time between fishing, chartering the sailboat and raising a family," He raced sailboats just "to goof around," and when he was 7, raced off-road bicycles. By the time he was 11, he was racing off-road motorcycles. "The racing bug kind of took over," he said. He used to ride on the back of his father's motorcycle, which pulled a trailer carrying his smaller motocross bike.

He saw his first cart race while taking classes at a junior college, and got hooked. Only problem was, he didn't have the money to support his racing habit. That's when his lessons at sea came in handy. "Living on the water taught me to be real independent. There's always a lot of work to do. It gave me self-discipline. I wasn't afraid of hard work and living a different lifestyle. We were kind of like the modern day hippies out there. It was a neat environment to be raised in. It just teaches you not to judge people by just the way they live."

The transition from two-wheel racing to four-wheel racing was rough at the start. Gidley became a mechanic at a driving school at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey and made extra money delivering pizzas from his pickup truck. "The mechanics, we'd sit down for lunch and it was like, I did not know the Andrettis or anybody in cars," Gidley said. "The guys at Russell Racing had the attraction for the driving, the glory, the TV. They all had the idea that maybe they could drive. If I make it to Indy cars, I don't think any mechanic would be able to say they got to do that."

Racing Record:

· 1992 Russell Racing School Champion (Laguna Seca Raceway) In a competition against the rest of his field of mechanics, Gidley won the Russell Racing championship · 1994 U.S. 80cc Gearbox Kart Champion . · 1995 U.S. Formula Ford 2000 Oval Course Champion, 3 races victories, Second overall and series "Rookie-of-the-Year" - also named a Team USA Scholarship Winner , test driver and coach for Trackmagic Racing Karts · 1996 U.S. 125cc Gearbox Kart (USKA) Champion. · 1997 Season: Won two races in his first year of Atlantic competition, finished second in the Atlantic championship as a rookie to teammate Alex Barron, winning at Toronto and Vancouver, helping Lynx Racing finish 1-2 in the championship, with eight top-five finishes in 12 races. Won the Player's Challenge Championship for Canadian Atlantic races and was second in the KOOL "Rookie Challenge" - won the GT America Stock Car race at Reno Grand Prix. · 1998 Won three of the first four races and led the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship for most of the season, finally finishing third after mechanical failures at Mid-Ohio and Laguna Seca.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Memo Gidley , Adrian Fernandez , Christian Fittipaldi , Dario Franchitti , Alex Zanardi , Bryan Herta , Naoki Hattori , Greg Moore