The ARCA Menards Series West does not have deep roots at Portland International Raceway having competed on the 12-turn, 1.967-mile road course just five times dating back to 1986.
That doesn’t mean the site of IndyCar’s Grand Prix of Portland is not a popular stop on the West Series schedule.
The 2021 West Series event in Portland, Oregon, technically marks ARCA’s first race on this road course, as the first five West Series events at Portland International Raceway ran under the NASCAR banner.
The track in those five West Series races produced five different winners. That includes four consecutive annual visits from 2009 through 2012.
Track Profile: Portland International Raceway
|Track||Portland International Raceway|
|Layout||12-turn road course|
The site on which Portland International Raceway rests once was a small city. That was before tragedy took its toll.
The Memorial Day flood of 1948 washed away what was called the city of Vanport, an area built during World War II as housing for Kaiser shipyard workers. Complete with a library, a post office, a police station, several fire houses, an infirmary, stores, five elementary schools and a 750-seat movie theater, Vanport was home to almost 40,000 people at its peak, making it the second largest city in Oregon. It ranked as Americas largest public housing project.
The flood destroyed almost everything but the streets of Vanport. So when the City of Portland acquired the land in 1960, when auto racing in the United States was booming, its idea was to turn the grounds into a road course.
One year later, what’s now Portland International Raceway hosted its first Rose Cup race. By 1965, the track was hosting regular drag races as well as motorcycle and kart races.
The 12-turn configuration used today is relatively flat. It features multiple turns that promote passing, like the chicane at the end of the frontstretch, the sharp corner in Turn 7 and the trio of corners leading back to the frontstretch.
What’s now the ARCA Menards Series West first visited Portland International Raceway in 1986, when Hershel McGriff drove a Pontiac to Victory Lane.
The series after a 23-year hiatus returned in 2009 for a series of four Portland races in four years. Jim Inglebright, Patrick Long, Luis Martinez Jr. and Greg Pursley won those events in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, respectively.
West Series races at Portland International Raceway
|2011-09||7/24/11||Luis Martinez, Jr.|