About the track
Portland International Raceway opened in 1961 on the former location of the city of Vanport, destroyed by the Memorial Day 1948 flood. The 12-turn, 1.967-mile natural road course is relatively flat, but contains several passing opportunities, including a quick chicane at the end of the frontstretch, a hard-breaking right-hand Turn 7 leading onto the sweeping backstretch, and a three-turn complex leading back onto the fronstretch. Al Unser Jr. won the first Indy car race in 1984. In 1997, the race set the now current all-time record for the closest two-car and closest three-car finish in Indy car racing history on a road course. Mark Blundell beat second place Gil de Ferran by 0.027 seconds, and beat third place Raul Boesel by 0.055 second, in a three-wide finish.