IndyCar returns to Oregon in change to 2018 schedule

INDIANAPOLIS — Portland International Raceway is back on the IndyCar Series schedule in 2018.

The Sept. 2 race on the 1.967-mile permanent road course will be IndyCar's first trip to the Oregon track since races were held from 1984-2007 under CART and Champ Car sanction.

"As a young man, I had the opportunity to attend the Indy 500," Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said. "I remember well the excitement and thrills that INDYCAR racing bring to a city and to race spectators. The return of INDYCAR racing to Portland will give us terrific international exposure, a great deal of revenue, new jobs, and an exciting experience for race fans."

The race will be operated by Green Savoree Racing Promotions, which also promotes the IndyCar events at St. Petersburg, Toronto and Mid-Ohio.

Portland replaces Watkins Glen, New York, on the schedule.

"Portland International Raceway has produced thrilling road racing throughout Indy car history — the 1997 finish still stands as the record for the closest finish on a road or street course — and the timing of our return couldn't be better given the bold new look our cars will have in 2018. We expect this will be a show fans won't want to miss," Mark Miles, CEO of series owner Hulman & Company, said in a statement Thursday.

The 1997 race became memorable when Mark Blundell passed Gil de Ferran — who celebrated too early — for a photo-finish victory. It was the first win for PacWest Racing.

Currently active IndyCar Series drivers who competed in the last race held at PIR include Sebastien Bourdais (winner), Will Power, Simon Pagenaud and Graham Rahal.

There were no other major changes on the 17-race schedule as IndyCar sought stability in assembling its 2018 calendar. The race at Phoenix is returning to the first weekend in April. The race had moved this year to avoid conflicting with the NCAA men's basketball Final Four taking place in nearby Glendale, Arizona.

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