Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland
- Portland Tribune - Sports
When, where: Today through Sunday, Portland International Raceway
Schedule: Today - practice, 10:15 a.m., 2 p.m.; qualifying, 2:25 p.m. Saturday - practice, 10:15 a.m., 1:45 p.m.; qualifying, 2:05 p.m. Sunday - race, 12:30 p.m.
TV: Live on KOIN (6), 12:30 p.m. Sunday
Top 10 points: Sebastien Bourdais, 136 (four wins, three poles); Justin Wilson, 105; Andrew Ranger, 75; Mario Dominguez, 69 (one pole); A.J. Allmendinger, 69; Nelson Philippe, 61; Paul Tracy, 59; Alex Tagliani, 56: Cristiano da Matta, 55; Will Power, 50
Notes: Da Matta, last year's Portland winner, has moved to RuSPORT - his third team in two years - replacing Allmendinger, the only American in the series. It was a shocking move, because RuSPORT built its effort around Allmendinger. But teammate Justin Wilson has made more strides and the team felt it upgraded with da Matta, the 2002 series champ who has 12 career wins. He had been driving for Dale Coyne Racing, after driving for PKV Racing last year.
Allmendinger, 24, is winless in 31 Champ Car races, but he was immediately picked up by Forsythe Racing. That team dumped Mario Dominguez, who had crashes involving teammate Paul Tracy at Long Beach and Milwaukee.
RuSPORT boasted the fastest cars at PIR last year, and Wilson led 43 laps before a mechanical problem took him out and paved the way for da Matta's victory. … Da Matta also claimed victory at PIR in 2002. … Wilson has three runner-up finishes to Bourdais this season.
It's the 10-year anniversary of the Indy Racing League-Champ Car split. Raise a beer this weekend to the good ol' days of great open-wheel racing. … Phoenix soon could be on the Champ Car schedule. … Bruno Junqueira, the teammate of the dominant Bourdais, has 35 points and is 16th in the standings.
Dominquez, who is unemployed, got dinged seven points for causing the first-lap Milwaukee wreck that took out Tracy and Junqueira. He says it was his idea to leave Forsythe, lamenting that 'playing No. 2 in the team was not what I wanted to do this early in the championship.' … Katherine Legge will drive with a special Rose Festival-Father's Day helmet design this weekend. … Seven rookies and Oriol Servia, Junqueira and Vasser inhabit the bottom 10 spots in the points standings.
Bobby Rahal's son, Graham, 17, races in Champ Car Atlantic. He's third in points with 61, trailing Andreas Wirth (84) and Simon Pagenaud (79), and he beat Pagenaud to win the series' third race at Monterrey.
Other races: Formula Ford 2000, 4:15 p.m. Saturday, 3:15 p.m. Sunday; Champ Car Atlantic, 10 a.m. Sunday
- Jason Vondersmith