Portland International Raceway (PIR) has delivered many exciting Indy car races over its history. That is likely to be the case again Labor Day weekend for the Grand Prix of Portland, August 30-September 1.
The NTT IndyCar Series returns to PIR and the Pacific Northwest for Round 16 of 17 of its season championship next weekend. The closest finish ever on a road or street circuit in the series’ annals occurred at PIR in 1997 when Mark Blundell passed Gil de Ferran on the final lap to win by 0.027 of a second.
On Father’s Day in 1986, Mario Andretti nipped his son Michael at the line by 0.070 of a second after Michael’s car ran out of fuel on the final turn of the final lap. That PIR finish was the closest ever in any Indy car race at the time when it happened.
Like last year’s race, the Grand Prix of Portland is also where NTT IndyCar Series title hopes can be dashed or secured as the penultimate round. Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon provided proof of that after overcoming a multi-car first turn incident to retain his points lead by capturing a fifth place finish last year at PIR then going on to win his fifth series championship.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver Takuma Sato worked a two-stop strategy perfectly and also delivered one for the record books on September 2, 2018, in the Grand Prix of Portland. He started 20th on the grid before taking the checkered flag. It was the furthest back ever at PIR an INDYCAR driver has started to go on to take the win and also ranks fourth all-time as the lowest starting position to win a race on a road or street course.
“The strategy worked extremely well, the car worked well and the pit stops were fantastic,” Sato said afterwards about his team and the Honda-powered No.30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic car. “It was a beautiful race. Look at these fans in Portland, so enthusiastic. I think this is one of the most beautiful days in my life again.”
In addition to the stars and cars of the Indianapolis 500 and the NTT IndyCar Series competing on the 1.964-mile, 12-turn PIR road course, doubleheaders will be held for all three open-wheel development series comprising the Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires. The Global Mazda MX-5 Cup will provide additional full-fender action alongside the debut for the high-flying Stadium SUPER Trucks taking on the asphalt and air of PIR for the first time. Eleven races in all comprise a jam packed weekend schedule.
Three Day tickets are still available for purchase to secure the top seats at the best value in the grandstands for the entire race weekend. A limited number of Three Day Gold Level Grandstand offering reserved seating overlooking the famous Festival Chicane remain and include a paddock pass to get up close to the cars and drivers in the “locker room of motorsports.”
The Grand Prix of Portland is a tremendous family value. Children 12 and under receive free general admission to the event and free admission to the NTT IndyCar Series paddock throughout the weekend when accompanied by a ticketed adult. Visit portlandgp.com for ticket information.