Portland Historic Races To Feature Joe Leonard, Celebrated Motorcycle and Indy Car National Champion
PORTLAND, Ore. - May 21, 2004 - Joe Leonard, the only American racer to ever win national championships on four wheels as well as two, will be part of the Baxter Auto Parts Portland Historic Races July 9 through 11 at Portland International Raceway. The event will take place daily at the racetrack, located at 1940 N Victory Blvd, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tickets cost $40 for all three days; $10 for Friday; or $25 for Saturday or Sunday. Tickets are available at the gate. Children under 12 are admitted for free.
The versatility that "Smokin' Joe" Leonard displayed throughout his racing career began as he burned up tracks across the country on his Tom Sifton-tuned Harley Davidson. He dominated the inaugural American Motorcycle Association Grand National Championship series in 1954 and eventually won three AMA national titles. In 1991, Leonard was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in the Motorcycle category
Leonard raced bikes until the mid 1960s, when he transitioned to car racing. He eventually became a top-level Indy racer, and in 1968, put the controversial turbine-powered Lotus "wedge" on the pole at the Indy 500. Leonard went on to win two United States Auto Club championships in the early 1970s. His career was cut short by serious foot injuries suffered in the California 500 in 1974.
Leonard is attending the event to promote the featured Vmoto race, comprised of a field of vintage motorcycles. Vmoto is a group of motorcycle enthusiasts dedicated to the restoration, preservation and racing of historic, classic and vintage road racing motorcycles.
Leonard will sign autographs at the event on Saturday, alongside legendary racer Parnelli Jones. Jones, who has won nearly every major auto race event in the nation, will be at the event saluting the Historic Trans-Am feature group. He will also be present for Sunday's races.
The Baxter Auto Parts Portland Historic Races features racing by some of the most celebrated vintage cars in history. Nearly 250 prestigious cars are divided into groups according their age and horsepower to compete on the raceway's 1.967-mile track. The event is also an opportunity for the general public to get up close and personal with these legendary cars. The cars are accessible to everyone at the track, and their drivers welcome interaction with fans.
In addition to racing, the event offers a display of more than 900 collector cars and hot rods; a family zone; a vendor midway; and an upscale food and wine pavilion. Passenger shuttle golf carts will be available at no charge Saturday and Sunday traveling between the paddock tower and the chicane grandstand, and in the pro pits to the Goodyear Bridge. There will be handicap transportation to the infield from the paddock tower.
The Baxter Auto Parts Portland Historic Races is a fundraiser for the Children's Cancer Association, a not-for-profit organization based in Portland that works to positively impact the care and quality of life for seriously ill children and teens with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses throughout Oregon and the United States.
The event is sponsored by Baxter Auto Parts, Northwest Natural, The Oregonian, Fred Meyer, Carrera Motors, Vmoto, Lexus of Portland, and Catering At Its Best.
For more information about the Baxter Auto Parts Portland Historic Races, call 503-274-0019 or visit www.portlandhistorics.com.