2006 Portland Thoughts
RACE: Awesome. A Hollywood scriptwriter could not have plotted it better. After a yellow at the start, it was green flag racing all day, a first for a Champ Car race at PIR. An American driver wins his first Champ Car race one week after getting fired, engaged, and hired to race for his former mentorís team. If this race did not move you, you have no heart.
TRACK: Say what you will about Portland, the road course was raced the way it was meant to be raced. Cleanly. Brilliantly. No one wrecked. No attrition. Memo to the track: Bourdais wants the surface repaved.
THE BIG PICTURE: A successful event with attendance growth culminating in a storybook finish. Champ Car needs more weekends like these.
START: For once, the Champ Car start was much better than the Atlantics, but donít tell Bruno that.
ALLMENDINGER: A brilliant drive in his maiden race with Forsythe. A.J. came into his own today, out of Carl Russoís shadow, and vanquished his own demons.
FORSYTHE: Neil Micklewright deserves kudos for bringing on A.J. so fast with a win. It was also gratifying to see Tara Ragan, who has worked with Dinger since he was 16 years old, recognized by A.J. for her help with his PR. They showed themselves to be the class of the field.
WILSON: We always thought that Justin would be holding off Sebastien during A.J.ís first win. We just didnít imagine it would be like this. According to Justin, it took until the end of the race for him to think of it as A.J.ís win. Our hatís off to Mr. Wilson for another stellar Portland performance.
RuSPORT: A great 1-2 finish for ... ah ... never mind. Our bad. Carl Russo is probably crying now. As our Lisa Davidson said yesterday, now Carl is going to have to watch A.J. win races for Gerry Forsythe that he could have won for him.
BOURDAIS: It was not sporting of Sebastien to whine about the start and how it was unfair to Bruno and to blame his not winning the race on the start. Even so, he ran a good race and retained his points lead.
JUNQUEIRA: Bruno blew his front row start, and even though he put in some blistering laps afterward, it just didnít matter.
NEWMAN-HAAS: Whiners R Us.
DA MATTA: Hmmm.
CLARKE: He finally lived up to his moniker ďSpeedy Dan,Ē jumping up to second place at the start. His run at the front was curtailed by a cut tire, but he still leads Legge by one point for Rookie of the Year.
TRACY: The most difficult thing for us to comprehend this year is how much a factor he has not been this year Ė and this raceís seventh place finish is yet more evidence.
PHILIPPE: Nelson was outraced by his teammate, Clarke. At least this isnít Formula One, and itís only one race. Hopefully.
RANGER: He didn't finish sixth or seventh. But, he still got the point for most improved positions. Chaos has been averted.
SERVIA: At least Oriol didnít wreck a third car and he managed to finish right inside the top ten.
TAGLIANI: Not a factor today. Not a factor all weekend.
ZWOLSMAN: Never a factor as he ran towards the back with Legge.
LEGGE: Katherine did not spin and did not make any apparent mistakes; she just wasnít fast enough to run up at the front.
DOMINGUEZ: The second most disappointed participant after Bourdais, Mario had to watch his old car and team win the race and settle for a back of the field, 14th place finish.
HEYLEN: Jan was in this race?
KASEMETS: Well, Tonis did finish...
POWER: A tough break for the rookie with a last place finish, especially since Will, surprisingly, had the fastest lap of the race.
ATLANTICS: A wild and woolly race, won by Canadian rookie James Hinchcliffe, who only led one lap, but it was the only one that counted. Polesitter Graham Rahal crashed out in lap one, Rahalís teammate, Englandís Ryan Lewis, shined in his debut race, and Andreas Wirth came out of mid-pack to take the last spot on the podium. The doubleheader at Cleveland promises to be very exciting, especially with Ryan Lewis in the mix.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Emotional.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 0 -- The number of career laps Bruno Junqueira has led at Portland.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: The first Portland race was also won by a young up and coming American driver -- Al Unser, Jr.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Gerry Forsythe on A.J. Allmendinger's two-race tryout after winning his first time out, "We'll keep him."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: For those of you who still insist for some bizarre reason that Champ Car does not need successful American drivers to attract the interest of the American sports fan, we give you this quote chanted by over 40,000 fans after the checkered flags waved, "U!S!A! U!S!A! U!S!A!"
SCHEDULE: The series heads to the wide open expanses of Cleveland with a soap opera that will have many still buzzing.
Copyright © 2006 by Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.