Sports car racing comes back to Portland International Raceway with the 60th Rose Cup races.
After an unprecedented hiatus last year, the 60th running of the Rose Cup Races returns to PIR, Friday-Sunday, July 9-11. The Rose Cup race is maintaining its traditional open format for V8-powered and exotic sports cars, supported by a cast of local and traveling racing groups.
This year's headline Rose Cup race is open to production-based racing cars and tube-framed "silhouette" cars that resemble production sedans and coupes. Top contenders will include Chevrolet Corvettes and Camaros, Dodge Vipers, and Ford Mustangs as well as Ferraris and Porsches.
The first Rose Cup race was run in 1961 and won by Jerry Grant in a three-liter Ferrari Testa Rossa. The race continued every year through 2019 with 59 names added to the historic trophy. Among the past winners is the late Monte Shelton, a Portland-based car dealer who won the race a record seven times. Local racer Steve Hodge is close behind with six career Rose Cup victories.
At the 50th anniversary event, both Grant and Hodge stood with Shelton for photos, along with other past winners. This year's Rose Cup promises to be no less historic with three-time winner Matt Crandall entered in his Porsche 964 and perennial contender Cindi Lux looking for her first victory in her Dodge Viper. Tim Adolphson also is looking for the top spot on the podium in his Chevrolet Camaro.
The featured 60th Rose Cup race will take place at 3:10 p.m. Sunday, July 11.
This year's Rose Cup event has a strong undercard, filling the three-day schedule with local and visiting racers in five widely varied race groups. The popular Spec Miata class boasts the largest field, a tightly packed race group of 26 drivers all running similarly prepared Mazda Miata sports cars.
The Sports Car Club of America is fielding the Spec Racer Ford group. This is the most popular purpose-built sports racing class in SCCA racing nationwide. Each Spec Racer Ford is identical to all others and the engines are factory-sealed to prevent tampering. So far, 23 drivers have registered for this race group.
The Wemme Trophy vintage race commemorates a 1909 open road race held on the byways between Portland and Gresham. The vintage racing group features older sports cars from brands such as Lotus, Datsun, MG, BMW, Alfa Romeo, Porsche and even Volvo. Classic American sports cars are included as well, with a range of vintage Corvettes, Camaros, Mustangs, and Shelby Cobras. In all, 22 drivers have entered the vintage contest. At the end of this race, the Wemme Trophy will be presented as a lifetime achievement award to one driver in the race.
The Small Bore Production Cars will showcase the heart and soul of amateur racing. Driving familiar street cars from Nissan, Mazda, Honda and BMW, this group of racers represents the grassroots of the sport. Also sharing the schedule is the visiting Crossflow Cup series for older open-wheel Formula Ford race cars. Finally, the Portland Karting Association will offer demonstration races featuring a variety of popular karts.
Racing starts at 9 a.m. each day; gates open at 7:30 a.m. daily. A three-day ticket is $30. For more: rosecup.com.
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