CHAMPCAR/CART: Portland: PKV Racing race report

PORTLAND, Ore. (June 20, 2004) -- Fathers' Day in the Pacific Northwest produced two solid runs for PKV Racing in today's Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland, as 1996 Series Champion Jimmy Vasser ( ...

PORTLAND, Ore. (June 20, 2004) -- Fathers' Day in the Pacific Northwest produced two solid runs for PKV Racing in today's Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland, as 1996 Series Champion Jimmy Vasser (#12 Gulfstream Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) started ninth and finished eighth and teammate Roberto Gonzalez (#21 NII Holdings, Inc. Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) led the Mexican contingent in 10th in a Sunday scorcher on the 1.969-mile Oregon road course.

Vasser, who tied legendary racer Mario Andretti for fifth on the all-time Champ Car starts list today in taking his 208th career Green Flag, recorded his fourth top-10 result in a 12th Portland appearance. The California native is scheduled to pass Andretti for sole possession of fifth in next month's Round 5 race on Cleveland's Burke Lakefront Airport, and leaves Portland 11th in points with 52.

"Well, we ran about where we qualified the Gulfstream car yesterday, so it's no surprise," said Vasser. "We came in a bit early for strategy and the guys gave me good, solid stops all day. Eighth place is all we could get out of the car today, I guess. It's a top-10 result, but our goal is to be running at the top, period. We had a nice turnout today in Portland to complement the great weather."

Vasser's teammate and 2004 Champ Car Rookie-of-the-Year candidate Gonzalez gridded 11th in his first Portland GP and gained a position when the checkereds flew-- even after the Festival Curves nearly ended his day before it started. Gonzalez stands 14th in points with 40 markers, and holds the third spot in the ROTY race among six first-year pilots.

"I have mixed feelings coming away from this race because it was difficult for us," said Gonzalez. "Our pit stops were right on all day long, but the start of the race really set the tone. In the Festival Curves I had to drop down through the gears and then finally into neutral because of the incident with Michel [Jourdain Jr.]. We started 11th, but I quickly found myself back in 15th after the first turn traffic jam. We just kept at it and started to really pick up the pace near the end, turning our fastest laps I think. Our goal was to run in the top 10, so this is a solid effort for NII Holdings [Nextel Mexico] and PKV Racing."

The next stop on the 2004 Champ Car docket is the one-of-a-kind airport circuit in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, where Vasser has two of his eight career pole positions, in addition to a track-record setting qualifying run in 1998. Watch Vasser and Gonzalez take on the Champ Car competition from the city that boasts the Rock'n Roll Hall of Fame on Saturday, July 3rd at 5:00 pm ET.

About PKV Racing

Founded in January 2003, Indianapolis-based PKV Racing fields a two-car effort in the Champ Car World Series for American open wheel star Jimmy Vasser (#12 Gulfstream Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and Mexican rookie Roberto Gonzalez (#21 NII Holdings, Inc. Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone). The second-year team is owned by successful venture capitalists Kevin Kalkhoven and Dan Pettit, along with 1996 Series Champion Vasser, and is managed by veteran Champ Car team manager Russell Cameron.

For more information please visit www.pkvracing.com, www.nextel.com.mx or www.gulfstream.com.

-pkv-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Mario Andretti , Roberto Gonzalez