Tuesday, September 4, 2018

INDYCAR: My Portland Flashback Rolls On

Do You Want Fries with that Poster? As All I got was this lovely MacDougal's' "Hero" Card instead at the '06 CCWS Drivers Autograph session. (the Tomaso Collection)
As my eclectic look back at current day IndyCar Drivers who've race previously at Portland rambles on...

As I've already chronicled Portland's tenth anniversary without Indy Cars in the  following No Fenders tome.

While I'm probably the only person who noted Portland's Centennial when it was All the Rage at Mother Speedway, prior to the Magnanimous 100th running of the Indy 500.

As my story lists the results of each 'N every winner at Portland International Raceway between 1984-2007. As I wonder if Indy Cars will resurrect the traditional Kershaw Knives Pole Winner trophy award?

#18: Sebastian Bourdais
Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan
Engine: Honda

Otay, so it's my own 'lil clever connotation, having named SeaBass' le Hamburgular', which I'll let Y'all figure out? As just think of who won the majority of the Champ Car World Series (CCWS) races upon his arrival at Newman Haas in  2003, where he donned the  Golden Arches Wee-Wee...

As Bourdais, who'd successfully conquered the European Feeder Series ladder with titles in the French F3 and International F3000 Championships, the latter being the forbearer to today's FIA Formula 2 Championship. Began his CCWS Domination by winning Rookie Of  the Year (ROY) Honours en route to finishing fourth Overall.

then Sealmeister B' truly went on a tear, becoming the only Driver in IndyCar History to win four consecutive Championships, eclipsing Ted Horn's Three-peat between 1946-48.

As Sebastain's made five Champ Car starts at Portland, a la his sometimes Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT Stable mate Tony Kanaan. Yet Bourdais is the only current day IndyCar Driver to have won multiple B-I-G CARZ' races at Portland International Raceway.

As I had the dubious Disdain of witnessing his second W' in the Rose City in '07, since I was a Gynormous Justin B-I-G UNIT' Wilson Fan instead!

Whilst I skipped attending Portland's IndyCar races between 2003-04, when Bourdais won the first of his two Portland races in '04. As Bourdais won a staggering 31 races, 31 Poles and 44 Podiums over his 73 Champ Car starts! Before finally getting his wish to race in Formula 1 at Scuderia Toro Rosso between 2008-09.

Yet unfortunately, when I think of SeaBass', especially when I hear him sniveling in Interviews today, my mind wanders back to that most Disappointing meeting with him & his Frumpy Wingman Bruno Whineybags Junqueira an eternity ago inside the Paddock at Portland...

Assorted Portland IndyCar ticket stubs saved from My yearly Father's Day weekend outings. (the Tomaso Collection)
#22: Simon Pagenaud
Team Penske
Engine: Chevrolet

In 2006 "simone" came to Americre' to contest the Yokohoma Presents the champ Car Atlantics Powered by Mazda Championship; as try saying that four times fast; Hya!

As Simon Pagenaud's consistency, and multiple runner-up finishes enabled him to win the title over rival Graham Rahal, before he took his $2.0 million prize winnings to stay with Team Australia and graduate to Thar Champ Car team alongside some Aussie named Will Power.

Thus Pagenaud, along with Rahal both as CCWS Rookies ran their first races at Portland in Champ Cars final season, before the long overdue Mergification of the two rival Open Wheel Racing series finally occurred. Leaving him without an IndyCar ride the following year.

Hence Pagenaud would move to the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) driving with Team Owner gil de Ferran at De Ferran Motorsports, before winning the 2010 ALMS title with the rival Acura LMP1 Highcroft Racing concern.

As Simon would have to wait until 2011 before getting the call to fill-in for Ana BIA' Beatriz at Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, (DRR) making his IndyCar Debut at the Oh, so Bootyful' Barber's in Alabama. Before filling in once more at DRR for the injured Justin Wilson at Mid Ohio.

Pagenaud would drive for Sam Schmidt Motorsports the following year Fulltime - thru 2014 before getting the call from El Capitano', nee Roger Penske to join his Powerhouse Racing Team for the 2015 season.

And we all know that Pagenaud went onto win the 2016 IndyCar Championship for Penske, before finishing runner-up to Team Penske's newest addition Josef Newgarden the following season. Yet Pageantry's seemingly struggled to come to grips with this year's new Universal Aero Kit (UAK) 2018 Dallara Spec chassis.

#28: Ryan Hunter-Reay
Andretti Autosport
Engine: Honda

How many of Y'all knew that the man I now call "The Dude!" aka Ryan Hunter-Reay or RHR won  an impressive six Karting Championships before his steady rise to Indy Cars? For which I wasn't aware of previously.

Although I'm somewhat certain that the Barber Dodge series ran support races at PIR, cannot say if RHR competed there? Although for certain, in 2002 during his lone Toyota Atlantics campaign, Ryan finished fourth in that year's Portland outing.

For '03 RHR graduated to Champ Cars with American Team Spirit Johansson, where his team-mate was "Top Jimmy," aka the 1996 CART/PPG IndyCar champion Jimmy Vasser.

Hunter-Reay started seventh in that year's Portland CCWS event aboard the uncompetitive Reynard chassis before a Shock Victory at the abysmally wet Surfers Paradise race Down Under!

For '04 RHR switched to Herdez Competition, where he claimed his second and final Champ Car win at the famed Milwaukee Mile. Before switching to Rocketsport Racing the following season, making his third start at Portland for three different teams, before a bitter and contentious parting of the ways with Paul MEATHEADZ' Gentilozzi, which I previously chronicled in;

Next Hunter-Reay landed at Rahal Letterman Racing and won the IRL's Rookie Of the Year (ROY) Honours in '07. And followed that up by being named the 2008 Indy 500 Rookie Of the Year.

And the rest is History, even if there were some more Bumps 'N Bruises along the way. Like losing his ride after one season with 'lil TG's Vision Racing, when Tony George shuttered his IndyCar team due to lack of sponsorship.

then beginning the 2010 season with only a partial season commitment with Andretti Autosport. Or Mikey A' and his longtime sponsor DHL buying him a seat in the 2011 Indy 500, replacing Bruno Junqueira at A.J. Foyt Enterprises.

Yet Hunter-Reay's now enjoyed a very fruitful, long tenure at Andretti Autosport, winning the majority of his 17 career IndyCar victories there. Along with the 2012 IndyCar Championship and the 2014 Indy 500 after a scintillating pass upon eventual runner-up Helio Castroneves!

Other Drivers
Although they've never driven an IndyCar in Anger there, these two current Hosers From Up North Eh! Have the distinction of having raced at Portland in former Feeder Series as Supporting Casts to Champ Cars.

#5: James Hinchcliffe
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
Engine: Honda

Thou Mayor 'O Hinchtown' first became noticed at Portland International Raceway when he won the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic race for Forsythe Championship Racing.

then I still vaguely recall him getting "Waxed" in the two Atlantic races the following year, when after starting from Pole both days, a pair of fellow KuhNucks named Wickens and the long forgotten Kevin Lacroix won the Double Header weekend's events, with Hinchcliffe finishing runner-up both days. As I'm guessing he'd have traded his season's three Poles for a win, Eh?

#6: Robert Wickens
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
Engine: Honda

Robert Wickens, who'll forever be known as The Young Wicky!" to Mwah, which Hinch' nicknamed him Wayback during Thar Champ Car Atlantic Days... Popped up upon Thy Radar Screen when he won his maiden Atlantics race, round 1 of the weekend's '07 Portland Champ Car event.

And as I've mused over these No Fenders pages in the past, Robby finished ahead of Hinchcliffe in his lone Atlantics campaign, finishing third Overall vs. Hinch' finishing P4, before departing for a Single Seater career in Europe.

As Robby's amazing style and relative Humbleness, along with being as Mark "Graveley" James would say: One Bad Fast Racer! Wickens has vaulted to Numero Uno for my favourite IndyCar Drivers this year...

This No Fenders Story was written prior to the Pocono 500 being contested, along with not having witnessed Robert Wickens Horrendous incident via television. As the Canadian Racing Phenom obviously won't be racing at Portland this year, but is still totally worthy of inclusion...