Bourdais feels right at home on Portland road course


PORTLAND, Ore. -- Sebastien Bourdais has developed quite an affinity for Portland International Raceway.

The Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan driver was introduced to the 1.964-mile permanent road course during his Champ Car rookie season in 2003 and finished a pedestrian 14th in his debut. It has been anything but since.

He won from the pole the following season and it began an annual trek to the podium. Bourdais followed up the win with a runner-up finish in 2005, a third-place effort in '06 and another win in '07, all coming during his Champ Car career.

Despite a 10-year gap from his Champ Car dominance and the return of Portland on the NTT IndyCar Series schedule last year, he did not miss a beat. Bourdais qualified fourth and returned to the podium with a third-place performance.

"My first time in Portland was actually quite funny,'' Bourdais said. "I remember I wasn't too thrilled about the experience because the race was the same weekend as the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but the scenery looked very familiar to my hometown. It was very green and for good reasons. Back then, the race was in June, and I don't remember ever going there and not seeing rain at some point during the event!

"The 2003 season was my first in Indy cars, and boy we were quick, but we also had the worst luck. Portland wasn't any different, while running fourth the rear wing fell off. Over the years, we won a couple and lost some that we could have won, but that's no different from most other places we raced at with Newman/Haas Racing during that period of time."

The NTT IndyCar Series heads to Portland, Ore., for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Portland. Live race coverage on NBC begins at 3 p.m. ET (noon PT local) with the green flag at approximately 3:45 p.m. Live radio broadcasts will be available on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network and SiriusXM Satellite Radio (XM 205, Sirius 98, Internet/App 970).

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