CHAMPCAR/CART: Portland: Minardi Team USA preview

BACK TO BASICS Minardi Indianapolis, 1, Team USA is ready for racing once again and will take part in the Mazda Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland presented by Joe's Outdoor Sports and More June 10, 2007. Drivers Robert...


Minardi Indianapolis, 1, Team USA is ready for racing once again and will take part in the Mazda Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland presented by Joe's Outdoor Sports and More June 10, 2007.

Drivers Robert Doornbos and 'Speedy' Dan Clarke have been busy on their hiatus from racing, with a promotional tour in Europe and two private tests, one of which was in Portland in early May.

This will be the first of six permanent road courses on the Champ Car World Series Schedule, and after the arduous street racing that kicked off the beginning of the season, both drivers are looking forward to it. The race at Portland International Raceway will be the first time that the Champ Car World Series has implemented "standing starts" in it's over one hundred-year history. Both drivers, who began their racing careers in Europe, are returning to their roots with this type of starting procedure, and are encouraged by the change.

'Speedy' Dan Clarke #4

"I think it's good that we have different types of circuits on the schedule. While I do enjoy street racing, it's nice that we have true road courses on the calendar as well. Street racing and road course racing have some different elements that force us as drivers to adapt our driving style, and can ultimately lead to better races. This will be the first time we have a standing start, and this will also create an even more exciting spectacle for fans to witness. It should be very good racing, and I'm looking forward to it."

Robert Doornbos #14

"As I said in Vegas, the start of the race there was the first rolling start of my entire life! By the time we got to Houston, I was starting to get the hang of it, and I passed quite a few cars going into turn one after the green! I am excited though, that Champ Car has decided to go to standing starts, and this is returning to my roots as a driver. I'm looking forward to re-visiting Portland, as I enjoyed both the track and the city when we were there briefly in early May. I hope we can continue with our strong performances that we began the year with, and will hopefully claim another podium for Minardi Team USA."

Keith Wiggins, Co-owner

"In the downtime, we completed worthwhile and productive testing, and we now look forward to the upcoming events, and firstly, Portland. With our two European drivers who were accustomed to permanent road courses and standing starts before they came to the U.S., this should give them a good chance to show their potential. We are confident going into this next string of races, as you always should be, and we hope this pans out to measureable results. It is important for Robert to continue to collect solid points, as he is a front-runner for the Championship. It is equally as important for Dan to show everyone that he has gained momentum after the two tests, and is a contender in the Series. The standing starts should be very exciting and very interesting for the fans, to see how it all plays out. It's a new element to our Series that could also have potential for some surprises "

Paul Stoddart, Team Co-owner

"After a break of nearly seven weeks since the last event, it's fair to say everybody at Minardi Team USA is looking forward to going racing again. During this time, Dan and Robert took part in two very productive tests, at Portland and Mont-Tremblant, and on the strength of their performances, I think we have good reason to be confident of a competitive showing in the upcoming races. Both drivers ran well in the opening three events of the season, all of which were on temporary street circuits. As Robert and Dan cut their racing teeth in Europe, though, in most cases competing on permanent road courses, and with three of the next four Champ Car races taking place on such tracks, I fully expect them to continue to perform strongly, and perhaps even spring a surprise or two. Interestingly, they're also both used to standing starts, which are scheduled to commence at Portland, and that might turn out to be an advantage for them as well."

-credit: mtusa

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Paul Stoddart , Robert Doornbos , Daniel Clarke