Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Portland Fast Facts

And I’m still in a fog over the past weekend’s trek to Portland, which was most enjoyable. My FUNK has nothing to do with the inclement weather, but the fact that my favourite Champ Car driver Justin Wilson seemed to have outfoxed himself on race day… Although I suspect the blame lies more with the team than driver?

Although its hard to believe that another year has already slipped by, as this yearly migration southward for the sole remaining Northwest Champ Car race, doesn’t always seem to exude warmer “Climes.” Forgive me for waxing melancholy as Pink Floyd’s “Time” plays in my mental background… (You know that fabled tune about Ten years gone by and you’ve missed the starting gun…)

So, just a quick recap of my weekend outing at PIR. Thursday night I decided to attend my very first Champ Car Fan Forum which featured CCWS President Steve Johnson and the “luminary” PT (Tracy) as the guest speakers.

Then a full three days at the track, arriving bright and early Friday morning to take up my position once again at the end of pit exit from inside the paddock. Still cannot believe that we’re allowed approx. 50’ from the race track. This is my personal favourite vantage point for the opening practice session.

Back across the Bridgestone foot bridge to wander the “Manufacturer’s Midway.” After this brief jaunt I watched the Toyota Atlantics. OOPS! Freudian slip as they’ve now been the Champ Car Atlantics powered by Mazda for two years. Actually I think it’s now Cooper Tires presents the Champ Car Atlantics powered by Mazda… (Try saying that fast five times.)

Then I watched Champ Car provisional qualifying from the exit of turn 12 onto the main straightaway before heading back inside the paddock to get my poster signed at the yearly CCWS autograph session, before calling it a day.

Saturday was an absolutely miserable day as I decided to gut it out and sit in a myriad of rain squalls in my cheesy raingear. As I felt that after the euphoria of the prior day and a half, the drivers deserved my support. Which I was happy to see the amount of fans who braved it out in absolutely horrible conditions. After 5 hours in constant rain, I left for the shelter of my dry hotel room across the freeway adjacent the track.

Sunday, the weather was much more cooperative. Although I intended to arrive at my seat for the second Atlantics race. I ended up arriving so early that I caught the entire Champ Car warm-up session proceeding the Atlantic’s. And they put on an excellent second race, which was followed by the Champ Car driver introductions.

After putting the rain gear back on once again for a passing shower during the Atlantics race, the rain basically stayed away for the remainder of the day, although a fellow fan above us told the couple sitting in front of me. DON’T take that off until about 5:30PM! And I did finally take off the rain coat prior to the green flag being dropped. Which was preceded by an overly annoying fireworks blast. This was followed by a wonderful fly over by a lone vintage P-51 Mustang! And I find that the sound of a Rolls Royce Merlin piston engine has to be one of the sweetest sounds of Aviation!

And I’m still totally baffled over what happened to Justin Wilson who finished second after taking off from pole like a scalded cat. I mean it just DOESN’T add up for Justin to suffer a 32+ second swing, from leading by plus 17 seconds to finishing runner-up by 15 seconds…

More Portland insights to follow, as soon as my overtaxed fingers can pound away on the keyboard. (Now that I’ve managed to be reconnected to the internets!)
Race Report

More from my Portland weekend