NASCAR plans veer off track

Twice rebuffed by Washington counties, NASCAR promoters say they’re not giving up on the Northwest, but the number of places suitable for a major stock car racing track — and willing to build one — is dwindling.The latest to say no was Kitsap County after originally courting the International Speedway Corp., operators of 12 tracks nationwide that host Nextel Cup series events. County leaders backed off when local opposition emerged and the state was unwilling to pay for half the cost of a track.

Now supporters of other locations — including some near Portland — are racing to find a spot for what many see as a lucrative track but others see as an environmental hazard.

 — Excerpt from The Oregonian, April 30, 2007

Track welcome in Boardman

An Eastern Oregon port district would welcome a NASCAR track on its 1,400 acres of sagebrush near the Columbia River town of Boardman.

“This is a place that wants them,” Port of Morrow manager Gary Neal said. “It’s a great fit.”

Backers first proposed Boardman, about 160 miles east of Portland, for a speedway about seven years ago, and several investor groups have offered plans to make it happen over the years. Groundbreaking has been tentatively set several times, the last in fall 2006, but has never taken place.

 — Excerpt from The Oregonian, April 30, 2007

Red Bull Illume comes to Portland

This August, Red Bull Illume – a first of its kind international action and adventure sports photography exhibition – will visit Portland’s Pioneer Square offering residents and visitors alike a spectacular street-side “illumination” of indescribable proportions. Red Bull Illume began as a quest to find the fifty best raw moments in action and adventure sports. Contest judges composed of photography experts from around the world hand-selected 50 winning images from over 7,200 submissions representing over 90 countries to participate in a traveling exhibition touring exciting international destinations. After the images took Aspen by storm this winter and made waves in Huntington Beach in June, the larger-than-life photography exhibition heads to Portland’s cultural vortex this August, offering new perspectives of photography-as-art on SW 6th Avenue.

On August 2-12, a breathtaking spectacle of eight-foot glass and metal cubes will light up Portland’s main thoroughfare each evening after sunset, to reveal the very best of action sports photography. A special public opening of the extraordinary outdoor exhibition will take place at dusk on August 2, drawing spectators through a larger-than-life street gallery of illuminated photographic expressions, while during the day, the mirrored cubes will capture the compact beauty and redbrick that distinguishes Pioneer Square, affectionately known as the city’s “living room.”

Blazers look to Comcast for deal

Comcast Corp. is in negotiations with the Trail Blazers on a TV deal that would make the NBA franchise the cornerstone of a new Portland-based sports cable channel.

The negotiations come as the team’s current cable partner, Fox Sports Net, has called off talks to renew its deal with the Blazers.

Comcast’s prospective network could provide a broader platform for Oregon sports. It also might create a competitive advantage for Comcast, which will lose its regional cable monopoly when Verizon starts offering its own fiber-optic cable TV service sometime in the next several months.

 — Excerpt from The Oregonian, April 25, 2007

Extreme sports attract crowds

High-energy music, from hip-hop to metal to alt rock, blared at a crowd of a couple hundred spectators inside a North Plains warehouse. Their necks moved in sync, craning from right to left and back as dozens of the world’s top trick mountain bikers looped up, down and around a dirt course that snaked along the edge of the building.

For more than three hours on a Tuesday evening in March, the competitors dazzled the crowd by dropping onto the course from a 17-foot-high ramp, then zooming into a dizzying array of acrobatics — back flips, tailwhips and 360-degree revolutions — often topped off with a “suicide,” or no hands on the handlebars.

Organizers chose Oregon to kick off the inaugural Wham Bam Thank You Jam slopestyle mountain bike series — with stops in Keystone, Colo.; Tamarack, Idaho; and Government Camp — for good reason.

 — Excerpt from The Oregonian, April 22, 2007

Time to rally ’round the cars

His world is fishtailing at 97 miles per hour and showering the Portland International Raceway with gravel and dust. Accelerating inches from boulders and stakes, careening past fences and trees, Travis Pastrana speaks calmly during what should be a white-knuckle ride on the edge.

“I’ve never been on this course before, so I better take it easy,” he said, slowing to a cool 92 mph. With almost supernatural control, he turns his wheels before the turns arrive and deftly slides safely through all of them. “Took that one a little wide,” he mutters to himself.

Pastrana is one of the 76 drivers in Portland this weekend for the Oregon Trail Rally, the third stop on the nine-race 2007 Rally America National Championship Series. Today, drivers race at PIR, and on Saturday and Sunday, they zigzag through tree-lined courses from Hillsboro to Vernonia.

 — Excerpt from The Oregonian, April 20, 2007

eUpdate: Rally Cars, Women’s Sports Luncheon, Dew Tour and New Members

Enjoy the sights and sounds of the Oregon Trail Rally this weekend as many of the top race car drivers in the country drive real cars on real roads during the 2007 Rally America National Championship Series. Spectators can watch drivers like Travis Pastrana vie for a spot in the X Games along one of the series’ most beautiful courses, from deep in the Tillamook State Forest to the curves of Portland International Raceway…

 — Click below to view the entire Oregon Sports Authority April eUpdate.

Legislature should restore PE

It’s not often that I get involved politically, but an issue affecting Oregon’s children compels me to speak out.

During the past couple of decades, we have seen a decline in physical education classes as part of the school day in Oregon. It is no coincidence that this decline has coincided with a rise in obesity rates as well as kids having more problems concentrating in the classroom.

We have an opportunity to turn things around, thanks to Senate President Peter Courtney, chief sponsor of legislation that would restore PE as part of our children’s school day.

 — Excerpt from The Oregonian, In My Opinion, by Pat Casey

Sports network could be a reality

I’m sure you’ve watched cable’s Fox Sports Northwest. We all have. On the whole, the channel does a fine job of covering regional sports – if you live in Seattle.

I know, FSN covers sports in Oregon, too. Even Trail Blazer games. They’re nice people – but they really ought to call the network “Fox Sports Seattle.”

I understand that. They’ve got the Seahawks and Mariners and Sonics and Huskies. But the truth is, regional sports channels work great as long as they don’t try to cover more than one region. And our lot in sports life has been playing second fiddle to our neighbors to the north.

 — Excerpt from the Portland Tribune, April 6, 2007

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Velodrome bill gains traction

A bill that calls for the construction of two, and now possibly three velodromes, won unanimous support Thursday from a Senate committee.

Velodromes are oval, highly banked bicycle tracks used for competitive cycling and training.

The Senate Committee on the Environment and Natural Resources voted 4-0, with Sen. Alan Bates, D-Ashland, not present, to recommend the passage of Senate Bill 926.

 — Excerpt from the Statesman Journal, March 30, 2007

The Tradition starts over

When it was announced last summer that the Jeld-Wen Tradition was bolting Aloha, its home the past three years, for Central Oregon, it would not have been an unreasonable reaction to say, “Huh?”

During its time at the Reserve Vineyards and Golf Club, it had been a nice enough tournament. Organizers always said they were seeing progress, growing the tournament, especially sponsorships. And the Tradition did donate $500,000 from last year’s event to Oregon charities, the largest of its three donations.

But the people never came. When The Golf Channel cameras would flash on, they would capture a sparsely attended tournament. The Tradition is a “major” on the Champions Tour, but it didn’t feel like a “major” at all.

 — Excerpt from The Oregonian, April 1, 2007