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2007 Portland Champ Car Race

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Well it was a great weekend. I don’t know why I waited until now to report on my trip, but that’s just how I am. Friday I flew into Portland early enough to head over to the track with my Dad to see some of the action. We saw some warm up runs of the different car series that were there at the track. The other series were Mazda MX-5 (souped up Mazda Miatas), Star Mazda (240 hp open wheel, rotary engine cars), and the Atlantic Series (300 hp open wheel cars, like the minor league of the Champ Cars). Also on Friday was a drifting exhibition. That was fun to watch. Just like last year, the cars came fish tailing all around the track at pretty high speeds. On some corners, the better drivers just locked in their drift and got those tires heated up so much that a huge cloud of smoke came billowing out from under the car.

Saturday was interesting. It rained the whole day, but all track activities went as scheduled. For some reason, my allergies kicked in full speed, even though I always figured rain knocked the pollen and nasty stuff out of the air; apparently that is not the case. So it was a cold, wet, pretty miserable day, but the cars on track were still fun to watch. There were some spinouts and a couple of minor crashes we saw due to the rain. The Atlantic Series had a race completely in the rain, and it was actually a great race with a great pass near the end by the eventual winner.

On Sunday the weather had cleared up a bit and provided great conditions for a day of races. After another good Atlantic race, the Champ Cars lined up for their first ever standing start. Typically in Portland, there will be a crash in the very first corner of the race because it is a sharp 90 degree corner. There were no incidents this time, and the pole sitter, Justin Wilson, led early in the race. The standing start seemed to be safer and more fair for the race leaders. The race went on without any yellow flags and no cars even dropped out due to mechanical failure until the very last lap, where 2 cars stopped on the track, still not too sure why (I haven’t watched my recording of the race yet).

Justin Wilson led for a good while, but then Sebastian Bourdais did what he always does by passing the leader, only to take the lead over in impressive fashion for the rest of the race. It was the 100th Champ Car victory for team Newman-Haas (that’s Paul Newman for those of you who aren’t into racing…I’m surprised if you’re still reading this here), which is quite the historical mark. Sebastian Bourdais has now won 24 of his 63 career Champ Car starts. Yeah, he’s pretty dominant.

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