Gil de Ferran

Gil de Ferran prepares to leave the pits during Friday practice for the 2001 CART race at Portland International Raceway

Gil de Ferran prepares to leave the pits during Friday practice for the 2001 CART race at Portland International Raceway. I wish it wasn’t cropped so closely but I had a tough time getting a shot of Gil all weekend and only got this one as his crew moved out of the way. Sadly I never got to see him race again as his team never returned to Portland, and while he didn’t have a great race I was happy when he won the championship for the second year in a row, as I was a fan from his rookie year.

Mario & Michael Andretti

Mario and Michael Andretti watch the timing and scoring results during Friday practice for the 2001 CART race at Portland International Raceway

Mario and Michael Andretti watch the timing and scoring results during Friday practice for the 2001 CART race at Portland International Raceway. Although both father and son had been quick at Portland in the past (each was a multiple race winner here), as you can probably guess from their expressions, Michael was having trouble finding speed on this day. Saturday wouldn’t go much better as he qualified 16th, but in the race he’d improve to finish 8th. Regardless I loved seeing them and spent quite a bit of time at the Team Motorola pits hoping for a chance at a picture.

Paul Tracy

Paul Tracy waits in the pits while his crew makes adjustments to his car during Saturday practice at the 2002 CART race at Portland International Raceway

Paul Tracy waits in the pits while his crew makes adjustments to his car during Saturday practice at the 2002 CART race at Portland International Raceway. The race on Sunday ended early for Paul, he drove past with what looked like suspension damage, but he had plenty of success at other races and now is a commentator for NBC Sports Network’s IndyCar races.

Townsend Bell

The steering wheel in the Indycar of Townsend Bell of Patrick Racing at the 2002 CART race at Portland International Raceway

At the 2002 CART race at Portland, familiar with his success in the Indy Lights feeder series, I wanted a picture of young Townsend Bell, driving that year for Patrick Racing. I came across him giving an interview in the pits and got a picture of him, but was pleased to also get a picture of his steering wheel with the orange body of his car sweeping out past his name. I quit watching racing not long after for a variety of reasons but started watching again when Formula One returned to regular cable on the NBC Sports Network. They also cover some of the IndyCar races and I was pleased to see Townsend again, now providing color commentary for those races, as well as still racing in sports cars (winning at LeMans last year!) and in the Indy 500.

Townsend Bell of Patrick Racing gives an interview at the 2002 CART race at Portland International Raceway

Paul Newman

Actor and team co-owner Paul Newman in the pits during Saturday practice at the 2001 CART race at Portland International Raceway

Best known as a great actor and for his extensive charitable work, Paul Newman was also the Newman in Newman/Haas Racing. The team he co-owned had extensive success at the track, although they came close but never won the big race at Indianapolis, I think they won one out of every three races at Portland. Here, Paul watches from the pits during Saturday practice for the 2001 CART race in Portland.

Dario Franchitti

Dario Franchitti sits in his Team KOOL Green car during Sunday practice before the 2002 CART race at Portland International Raceway

Dario Franchitti sits in his Team KOOL Green car during Sunday practice before the 2002 CART race at Portland International Raceway. As I recall I first became a fan because I liked his helmet when I saw him as a rookie racing for Hogan Racing, but I stayed a fan because he was personable and quick yet fair. He’d eventually win four championships and three Indy 500’s before retiring a few years ago.

Scott Dixon

Rookie Scott Dixon in his PacWest Racing car during Friday practice for the 2001 CART race at Portland International Raceway

Rookie Scott Dixon in his PacWest Racing car during Friday practice for the 2001 CART race at Portland International Raceway. While I spent most of the time focusing on my favorite drivers, I was familiar with Scott from his success in Indy Lights and wanted to get a shot of him in his car. The next year he’d switch to Chip Ganassi Racing where he’d win 4 championships and the Indy 500. He’s currently in contention for the 2017 championship, despite a savage crash at this year’s Indy 500 that almost gave me a heart attack. I love watching him race and am glad I have a photo from the early days.

Mo Nunn

Mo Nunn in the pits at the 2001 CART race at Portland International Raceway

Mo Nunn in the pits at the 2001 CART race at Portland International Raceway. Although Mo had a long career in motorsports, I first became aware of him when he worked for Chip Ganassi’s racing team. He later started his own team and in 2001 ran two of my favorite drivers, Tony Kanaan and Alex Zanardi, so I was thankful to get a picture of him during the race weekend.