CHAMPCAR/CART: Portland: Bridgestone preview

CHAMP CAR WORLD SERIES EXPECTING TO HOST MORE THAN ONE MILLION FANS OVER SEASON'S NEXT SEVEN RACES INDIANAPOLIS (June 12, 2006) -- Summer is fast approaching and with it, the midpoint of the 2006 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series...

CHAMP CAR WORLD SERIES EXPECTING TO HOST MORE THAN ONE MILLION FANS OVER SEASON'S NEXT SEVEN RACES

INDIANAPOLIS (June 12, 2006) -- Summer is fast approaching and with it, the midpoint of the 2006 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, where the only thing hotter than the action on the race track, is the action going on surrounding the race track.

The June 18 Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland launches a run of seven events that will play a key role, not only in the outcome of the championship, but also in the long-term growth of the Champ Car World Series. The summer stretch features a strong mix of established events with long and glittering histories, intermingled with newer venues that have blossomed into world-class motorsports events.

The stretch begins in Portland and includes visits to Cleveland, Toronto, Edmonton, San Jose, Denver and Montreal. The seven races combined to attract more than 925,000 people trackside last season and are expected break the 1,000,000 plateau this season. The stretch will likely see Champ Car break the 1,500,000 mark for attendance in 2006 and could serve as a springboard toward reaching last year's all-time per-event attendance record of 150,858.

"We continue to work with promoters to find new and creative ways to attract people to our three-day Festivals of Speed and the promoters are responding well," said series co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven. "We anticipate that all of our races will maintain their patterns of growth and that the fans will continue to find great value in attending our events."

The events that make up the summer stretch are doing more than simply opening the gates on a race weekend, as all have made substantial improvements and attracted new corporate support to their venues. Portland International Raceway revamped its track layout in 2005 and saw not only a safer race, but a much faster and more exciting one as Cristiano da Matta took the victory. Cleveland, Toronto and Montreal have all seen infusions of new management, which will provide bold innovations in how the races are operated.

Edmonton and San Jose held two of the most successful debut events in Champ Car history in 2005, combining to draw more than 350,000 fans, but both sites have reworked their tracks for '06 to provide better sightlines for the fans and better racing for the drivers. Denver has continued steady growth over its four seasons and had a wildly-successful race in 2005, setting event attendance records after posting a 32 percent increase in ticket sales.

More than just a series that brings world-class racing to the fans, Champ Car provides an entire weekend full of activities for people of all ages both on and off the track. Downtown street parties, interactive displays and contests, concerts with national recording artists and community festivals are all part of the experience that surrounds every Champ Car World Series event.

"It is very encouraging to us to see events that have had great successes in the past, continue to raise the bar for performance," said Champ Car President Steve Johnson. "Commitment such as that from our promoters will help Champ Car as we continue to build a strong and vibrant future."

In addition to the improvements at the Champ Car venues, fans will also be able to follow all the action on each of the series' television partners. The first four races of the stretch will be aired live on CBS Sports with the July 30 Grand Prix of San Jose and the August 27 Grand Prix of Montreal to be shown on NBC. The Denver race will air live on SPEED, as will replays of each of the Champ Car races on the 2006 schedule.

-CC-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Steve Johnson , Kevin Kalkhoven , Cristiano da Matta