Toyota Atlantics and Barber Dodge begin weekend activities at Portland International Raceway. PORTLAND (June 14, 2002) -- The CART Toyota Atlantic Championship and the Barber Dodge Pro Series will make their respective debuts and returns ...
Toyota Atlantics and Barber Dodge begin weekend activities at Portland International Raceway.
PORTLAND (June 14, 2002) -- The CART Toyota Atlantic Championship and the Barber Dodge Pro Series will make their respective debuts and returns at Portland International Raceway this weekend as part of the activities for the G.I. Joe's 200.
The Toyota Atlantic Championship - the top rung of the CART Ladder System - makes its first ever visit to Portland International Raceway this weekend for Round 5 of 12 of the 2002 season. In years past, the Toyota Atlantic series has raced at Montreal with Formula One while the former Dayton Indy Lights Championship has represented the Ladder System in Portland.
Activities begin Friday morning with practice at 11:45am. First round qualifying gets underway later in the day at 4pm, with second round qualifying set for 9am on Saturday. The strong Toyota Atlantic field will take the green flag at 3:30pm on Saturday.
For Atlantic President Vicki O'Connor, the trip to Portland is long overdue.
"The Toyota Atlantic series is thrilled to be racing at the Portland International Raceway for the first time," commented O'Connor. "The Atlantic teams and drivers are excited to be racing at Portland and looking forward to a great weekend of racing."
Michael Valiante of Burmaby, British Columbia is the current Atlantic points leader, with Jon Fogarty of Portola Valley, Calif. and Roger Yasukawa of West Hollywood, Calif. rounding out the top three in the season championship.
While the Toyota Atlantic Championship visits PIR for the first time in its history, the Barber Dodge Pro Series - the official entry level professional series of CART - makes its first trip back since 1999. Eventual series champion Jeff Simmons took the victory that day after current FedEx Championship Series driver Townsend Bell captured the pole.
Pro Series activities get underway Friday afternoon for practice at 12:40pm and first round qualifying at 4:45pm. Second round qualifying is set for Saturday afternoon at 12:15pm. Round 4 of the 2002 Pro Series season will take the green flag just after 10am on Sunday morning, prior to the Champ Car race.
Pro Series Managing Director Jeremy Dale echoes O'Connor's sentiment about the trip to Portland.
"Portland is as picturesque of a racetrack as you will find and provides great racing," said Dale. "Portland has a great history and great fanfare. We have wanted to come back but the schedule never quite worked out until now. We are extremely excited."
AJ Allmendinger of Hollister, Calif. leads the Pro Series Championship, with Rafael Sperafico of Toledo Parana, Brazil and Marc Breuers of Philadelphia, Penn. following him.
The Toyota Atlantic Championship will race next at Chicago Motor Speedway on June 29th and 30th. The Barber Dodge Pro Series will race next at Toronto July 5th-7th.