I've had a busy summer full of trips to visit old friends and to work car auctions. So with a weekend at home, I headed out to the Portland International Raceway to watch the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association Vintage Car Races this past Saturday. It had been a few years since I'd made my way out there and this year did not disappoint. There was a great mix of cars and a couple even had a local connection to Portland.
If you've never been to Portland, the PIR is actually managed by the Portland Parks Department and is located 10 minutes from downtown Portland. It's also connected to the MAX, Portland's public light rail system. With the exception of temporary road courses built for one-off events, it is the closest racetrack located in or to any major city in the USA.
Along with Porsches, Corvettes, stock cars, MGs and other British racing cars; there were lots of open-wheel cars and a couple of vintage Indy cars. The one that I was most interested in was the car that Jim Clark last raced here in the States. The race was at Riverside in the Rex May 300. It was 1967. Two months later, he would die in an accident in Europe. This particular car was built here in Portland, Oregon by the legendary car-builder, Rolla Vollstedt. Rolla built many of the cars which competed in the Indy 500 races of the '60s.
I also got the chance to meet two of my childhood racing heroes. Both Al Unser Sr. and Al Unser Jr. acted as grand marshals for the weekend's races. I have always been a fan of them both, throughout their storied racing careers. They were gracious enough to let me grab a photo with them. I got their autographs too.