Hitting the Apex: BitNile.com Grand Prix of Portland

With the penultimate race of the season, ATRL’s Eline Luna takes a look at Portland International Raceway this weekend.

Eline Luna

September 3, 2023

IndyCar travels to Portland International Raceway for the penultimate round of their season. The Grand Prix of Portland has been a long fixture on the IndyCar calendar. The first race was held in 1984 as a CART Series race and later was a ChampCar race until 2007. In 2018 IndyCar returned to the track and has raced there since with an exception of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mario Andretti beats Michael Andretti by 0.070 seconds – The Globe and Mail

 

The track is known as the host of two of the closest IndyCar road course finishes ever. In 1986 Michael Andretti had a problem on the final turn of the final lap, which made his father Mario able to catch up and beat him by 0.070 seconds. In 1997 Mark Blundell finished ahead of Gil de Ferran by 0.027 seconds who, in turn, beat third placed Raul Boesel by 0.055 seconds.

The track is relatively flat but creates quite a few overtaking opportunities, one of them being at the chicane at the end of the frontstretch. Then there’s also a hard-breaking right corner in Turn 7 and a three-turn complex leading onto the frontstretch.

James Black/Penske Entertainment

 

Driver Moves

Jüri Vips joins Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing for the final two races of this season. This will be his first race since the end of the Formula 2 season at the Abu Dhabi GP last year. Vips will drive the #30 which was previously occupied by Jack Harvey until the team switched drivers before Gateway. Conor Daly drove the #30 in Gateway and finished 16th.

Tom Blomqvist gets back into the Meyer Shank Racing #60 as a replacement for the yet to recover Simon Pagenaud. Previous replacements have been Linus Lundqvist and Conor Daly. Blomqvist will be able to use these two races for valuable track time as he will be making his full time IndyCar debut next season.

Championship Fight

Coming into Portland the title hopes remain alive for only two drivers. Josef Newgarden was set to sweep all ovals this season when he led for the majority of the race at Gateway. He however made a rare mistake where he hit the wall which ended in him finishing 25th, title hopes lost. 

Alex Palou leads teammate Scott Dixon by 74 points with two rounds remaining. Wrapping up the championship this weekend should be a relatively easy task for Alex Palou as long as he leads Dixon by 54 points.

Alex Palou at Portland in 2022 – James Black/Penske Entertainment

 

Track Information

  • Race Length: 110 Laps | 216.04 Miles
  • Turns: 12
  • Track Length: 1.964-miles (3.161km)
  • Most Wins: Michael Andretti (3), Al Unser Jr. (3)
  • Race lap record: 0:58.7403 (Carlos Muñoz)

Past Gateway winners:

2022: Scott McLaughlin

2021: Alex Palou 

2019: Scott Dixon

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eline follows a variety of motorsports from Formula E to IMSA to Nascar to WEC. They hope to study Mechanical Engineering to work in motorsports one day.

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