Portland eyes IndyCar race UPDATE Terry Angstadt led a group of IRL officials on a visit to Portland International Raceway this week where they got the royal treatment we are told. If a deal can be reached, the circuit would be added to the 2010 schedule, he said. The IRL is keen on the Northwest region of the country because it is a market NASCAR has failed to penetrate.
04/11/08 When the Champ Car and Indy Racing League series unified in February, Portland was a casualty on the quickly modified 2008 schedule. The IndyCar Series executives say they'd love to be in the market again. But their body language suggests it's far from a done deal with a June target date to release the 2009 schedule.
|The Champ Cars have raced at Portland for decades|
"We think it's a great opportunity," said Terry Angstadt, IndyCar Series president, commercial division. "But we will be analyzing a number of opportunities, and we're going to take a look geographically as well.
"There are two big markets that we have circled, the Pacific Northwest and New England. We've had some very interesting early conversations in Portland. We'd like to be there, but it's about the right promotion, the right sponsors and getting the community involvement.
"The last thing you want to do is go to a market and not have a successful event."
Mike Nealy, whose Global Events Group has so successfully promoted the past Portland races, couldn't agree more. That's why he's busy behind the scenes securing sponsors and enlisting community support. He plans to present a package to the IndyCar Series next month.
"We definitely want to be a part of the IRL family," Nealy said this week. "It's the first time in a long time with a unified product with great potential for the race fans, the sponsors and everyone."
The IndyCar Series announced a four-year extension with St. Petersburg last weekend and has expressed interest in bringing over some of Champ Car's more successful events, such as street races in Long Beach, Calif. and Surfers Paradise, Australia.
A permanent road course such as Portland would further diversify the schedule, both by venue and geography.
"There are a lot of great open-wheel markets, but there are more good markets than weekends available," said IRL team owner Chip Ganassi. "My personal opinion is that we ought to be speaking with the promoters where we had good events, and Portland is certainly one of them." SeattlePi.com