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Bankruptcy hearing stalls CART decision

City officials will wait until after CART's bankruptcy hearing on Wednesday to decide whether to stage another open-wheel race in June.

Promoter Mike Nealy, president of Global Events Group, has been unable to secure sponsorship for the race, tentatively scheduled for June 18-20. City officials, knowing the racing series could perish, have been leery about promising an event to the Open Wheel Racing Series, a group that hopes to buy CART's assets.

Mark Wigginton, manager of Portland International Raceway, and city Commissioner Jim Francesconi, who oversees PIR management, originally set -Jan. 16 as the deadline either to stick with plans for the race or move on.

'Mike has some things he's encouraged by,' Wigginton says. 'And the bankruptcy judge says a decision will be made at the end of the month.'

The Open Wheel group, which includes team owners Paul Gentilozzi, Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerald Forsythe, has insisted that Portland pay a sanctioning fee to keep its spot on the schedule. Gentilozzi says another venue would like the June 18-20 date.

But sources now say Open Wheel might promote the event itself, which would lessen the need for local title sponsorship and keep Portland on the schedule.

'We're exploring a number of options,' Nealy says.

The Indy Racing League, CART's rival, has looked at buying its assets. But as far as a possible IRL race in Portland, 'nothing is going to happen with an IRL race in 2004,' Wigginton says.