News: Portland - IndyCar Update

Tony Cotman recently visited Portland International Raceway, a long-time venue for the IndyCar Series, in an effort to evaluate the track. Portland remains on the shortlist of possible new venues for IndyCar to race at in the next two years.

Cotman, a member of the track safety, design, and consultation firm NZR Consulting, told that the venue would have to undergo serious renovations for the race to have any hope of getting the IndyCars to come back.

Cotman says, "I haven’t been there for six months, but from when I went, I’d say there’s some upgrading that needs to be done because everything there is kinda temporary."

IndyCar began racing in Portland over the course of 24 years, making it one of the most visited venues in the last generation of IndyCar racing. Portland did not make the cut when the IRL and Champ Car merged in 2008.

Michel Jourdain Jr. gets hit into the Festival Curves at Portland (Photo: Getty Images)

My Opinion

This to me serves as a significant blow to the chances of Portland making the schedule. Given the difficulty of finding a promoter at a normal venue, finding a promoter who will also need a cash influx to make the necessary changes will be difficult.

I thought the biggest hurdle getting IndyCar back to Portland would be the date, given Portland's longstanding infatuation with Father's Day Weekend. However, this doesn't compare to financial obstacles in the way.

However, given the recent success of Jay Frye and company to attract suitors like Road America, Gateway, Phoenix, and Watkins Glen (on short notice) back to IndyCar, I would say the door is far from closed on Portland. I had them on my shortlist to be on the schedule very soon, along with Calgary and Gateway.

Thanks for reading!

-Matthew Hickey