Nealy assumed there was no truth to the talk that Portland was losing its coveted late-June spot on the schedule. But just in case, he called Joe Chrnelich, Champ Car's executive vice president for promoter services. Chrnelich was in China, and it was 2 a.m. local time.
Champ Car's 2005 schedule features new events in Edmonton, Alberta; San Jose, Calif.; and Ansan, South Korea. A new race in Beijing is scheduled for 2006, and Champ Car is also considering races in Sebring, Fla., Houston, Brazil and South Africa. The most likely places for Champ Car and the ALMS to run together are at Sebring, Long Beach and perhaps Houston.
Portland made a modest attendance gain in 2005 with a race-day crowd estimated at slightly more than 25,000 fans, but there will be pressure to increase that dramatically in 2006 in light of Champ Car's debut in Edmonton last week and large advance ticket sales for new events in San Jose (July 31) and Denver (Aug. 14). Edmonton drew more fans for its race weekend than Portland's combined attendance the past three years. . . . Chrnelich said the numbers in Edmonton — 78,000 on race day and 200,052 for three days — were not exaggerated. "That is verifiable, paid attendance," he said. "The whole town was just on fire. It was amazing. And we feel like the same kind of thing is possible in Portland. More….(Talks about possible doubleheader with ALMS and more)