This weekend I made my maiden visit to Portland Int’l Raceway for the 2014 HMSA Portland Historics, with Datsun being the featured marque. Over two dozen Datsun 240Zs, 510s, Roadsters, 710s, and even a GTR Skyline showed up to support the first ever major U.S. Historic event spotlighting the venerable Japanese manufacturer. Mr. John Morton of BRE fame was the event Grand Marshall, and he regaled us with great stories of how he got his start in racing during the HMSA-hosted Saturday night dinner and award ceremony.
The driver-friendly, 2.0 mile, 12 turn track has a dragstrip front straight, a curved back “straight”, and a fun complex of corners connecting the two ends. HMSA and the local SCCA track workers ran a nice, organized three-day event, featuring a practice, qualifying practice, two heat races, a warm-up, and Sunday flag race. Friday and Saturday saw record high temps testing car’s and driver’s cooling systems alike, while we raced in the rain on Sunday. Combined with a 12-hour tow each way, it made for a long, yet very enjoyable, weekend.
I battled some brake and axle seal issues with my recently purchased Datsun 710 race car on Friday and Saturday, but with the help of my pit crew and fellow Datsun racers, I had things in order for Sunday’s flag race. Thunderstorms and lightning filled the skies for race day, and while some groups raced in a drizzle, some raced in a deluge. Many racers stuck it out, but I was suprised by how many packed up and left in the rain. My B-Sedan/2.5 Trans-Am group got lucky with just light showers, but it still made for an exciting session on DOT cheater-slicks. I got to learn a new track, see some new cars, and make some new friends this weekend. We finished 6th in a group that started with 24 competitors, so I’ll call this Oregon adventure a complete success!