Friday, September 7, 2018

INDYCAR: Final Wanderin' Thoughts upon My Portland flashback Contendahs'




An 'Ol Justin Wilson RuSport "Hero" Card collected Trackside in Portland's Paddock during the 2006 Champ Car weekend. (the Tomaso Collection)
Is He still Droning on 'bout Portland? And what's the Bloody point?

Yeah, I know Karma's only what you make of it, Righto Jeffie? Since one of my favourite IndyCar Bloggers, Jeff Iannucci of One Lap Down Fame has recently scribbled 'bout Karma's somewhat of our Own Making.

AnyHoo, I find it somewhat Karmic, or actually more symbiotic that I've just realized that I'm scribbling 'bout Portland's Days 'O Yesteryear, as it makes its IndyCar comeback 11yrs after its last race. Whilst thou No Fenders Blog is in the final days of its eleventh year of existence, Just Sayin'

And since I kept my typical No Fenders long-form prose going, and simply running outta room, here's the final Bits 'N bobs of other persons who'll be at Portland with past connections to the Racetrack.

As I'll be interested to see if the late Justin B-I-G UNIT' Wilson's current track lap record of 57.597 seconds from 2005, when driving for RuSport is beaten this year? Especially since I thought Graham Rahal said earlier that the track's been modified.


Former Drivers...
Although I've got ZERO Clue if "Professor B," aka Jon Beekhuis will be On-hand patrolling Pitlane for NBCSN? But there will be at least two former Drivers in the Commentary Booth who've raced at Portland previously.

As both are former Indy Lights Champions, while one's also a Champ Car; Err Championship Auto Racing Teams Champion, as can Yuhs guess who's who?

Ok, one's got a zillion past Nicknames, like Mr. Chrome Horn, The Thrill from the West Hill, Sugar Ray Tracy, PT' or Sand Dune Tracy, as take your pick!

But now PT' simply goes by Paul Tracy, who never won an IndyCar race at Portland, but drove their multiple times for Penske, Newman Haas and Forsythe.

Tracy won the final American Racing Series (ARS) Championship for Landford Racing in 1990 before the series became Indy Lights. Then won the final CART Championship in '03 for Forsythe Championship Racing.

Paul Tracy - Las Vegas Grand Prix, 2007. (Source: spokeo.com)
And I can still somehow recall (Townsend) T-Bell poundin' thru the final corner's complex on the Back "Straight" aboard that Dayglo' Orange #20 Visteon sponsored Patrick Racing Reynard 02i Toyota chassis. Presumably because how bright 'N eye catching that racecar was. As Townsend won the 2001 Indy Lights title for Doricott Racing.
While Jon Beekhuis raced at Portland en route to the 1988 ARS title, forerunner of the original 1991 Firestone Indy Lights series. Along with also being behind the wheel of CART IndyCar machinery for Bettenhausen, P.I.G. Walker and A.J. Foyt between 1989-91. But it appears that he never raced one of the Big Cars at Portland.



And although this never ending story's about current and former IndyCar Drivers who've raced at Portland. I'd be remiss if not mentioning 'Ol R', Indy Cars Curmudgeon, aka Robin Miller, who reported yearly from Portland during its CART and Champ Car Days...


And then going Age before Beauty; Hya! 'Ol superTex, nee Anthony Joseph Foyt, Jr. ran multiple times at Portland, since I even remember a long lost picture I snapped of his Copenhagen car on the track's from the West End Bleachers.

And how could I forget good 'Ol "booby Ruble," aka Bobby Rahal who not only raced at Portland during his CART Driving career, but won what I'm fairly certain was my inaugural Portland International Raceway outing in 1987. Then later saw "Mad Max" Papis win for him as a Team Owner in '01.

Michael Andretti is tied with his rival 'lil Al, aka Al Unser, Jr. for most wins at Portland with three apiece. With the storied Newman Haas Racing team Mikey drove for having the most victories at PIR, with a total of eight.

Whilst "Top Jimmy{ (Vasser) raced many times at Portland for multiple teams, including watching his TCGR team-mate El Zorro', aka Alex Zanardi win twice in the Rose City for the man he called Cheep! (Chip Ganassi)

Team Owners
By my very unscientific rythMaTickin', there's a total of seven Owners who've competed at Portland International Raceway during the CART-CCWS era between 1984 to 2007.

Since I'm counting Vasser and Dale Coyne separately, especially since Coyne had his own team for decades, while I've got NO Clue if he ever raced Thar?

While who can forget those iconic rosso Target Chip Ganassi Racing cars? Which I've already mentioned won twice during the mid-1990's. As Chip may actually have been involved in three victories at the track, since he was co-owner of Patrick Racing when EMMO' (Emerson Fittipaldi) won in 1989.

Have already noted A.J. Foyt, Michael Andretti and Bobby Rahal's involvement above, while obviously el Capitano', nee Roger Penske's team was one of the favourites to beat, having won three times consecutively between 1993-95 at Portland with those iconic red and white Marlboro cars.

Yeah, I've already included the link to an 'Ol No Fenders Portland tome before, but in case Yuhs missed it  in part Doce, you can check it out below...

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