INDIANAPOLIS – IndyCar racing is returning to Portland International Raceway in 2018, with a race scheduled for Labor Day Weekend.
In making the announcment Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said the economic impact on the Portland region could be $12 to $15 millions and "scores of jobs."
IndyRacer Graham Rahal, son of Champ Car legend Bobby Rahal, said he looks forward to the race in Portland. He was on the track for the last race in 2007. He's also raced here two other times in other classifications.
Rahal also fondly recalled winning a key go-kart race as a youngster at the Pat's Acres racetrack south of Portland.
When word of the Portland race was announced, Rahal said his social media accounts blew up with fans and friends saying they plan Oregon vacations around the race.
The Glen has struggled to draw big crowds on Labor Day weekend the past two years.
Watkins Glen International president Michael Printup told Racer magazine recently, “We've had two good races but it's been an uphill climb trying to make it work. I don't think the dates help us any because July 4 and Labor Day don't seem to be good. I asked IndyCar about changing dates, but there weren't any available."
IndyCar plans to announce its complete 2018 calendar this afternoon.
Watkins Glen, which returned to the series in 2016 after a six-year hiatus, took the place of a planned Boston street course race that never materialized. Scott Dixon won at The Glen in its 2016 return, while Alexander Rossi won the race there this past season.
Indy cars last raced at Portland in 2007 as part of the Champ Car Series. Before that, CART hosted races in Portland from 1984 to 2003 before CART before Champ Car took over from 2005-2007. Dale Coyne Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais is the only current IndyCar driver who has won an Indy car race at Portland.