Portland's Harris Set to Defend Rose Cup Title

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Tough competition expected from two Shelton Porsches at the 48th edition of this event.

Portland's Todd Harris is defending his Rose Cup title from last year in the 200 mph Fluge Global Adventures (FGA) Derhaag Trans-Am Corvette. Milwaukie's Matt Crandall, in the FGA Panoz GTS, joins Harris on the team.

Both drivers are among the favorites in the 48th running of the Rose Cup Races, presented by Temp-Control Mechanical Corp. Todd Harris, a professional race driver, is owner of the Pro Drive Racing School at Portland International Raceway (PIR). Pro Drive is also the season sponsor for the Spec Racer Ford class championship that competes in the Oregon Region Sports Car Club of America (ORSCCA) road racing championship.

His primary competition will come from Portland's Neil Shelton in the Porsche 962 Le Mans prototype car that has been confirmed as legal to compete this year by the SCCA. Perennial favorite Monte Shelton, also of Portland, will compete in his Porsche 911T.

"We were recently at a test day together at PIR and Neil is doing a great job," Harris said. "The Porsche 962 is flying around the track. With the entry of Monte as well, there will be in two Sheltons gunning for me this year."

"We're a little faster than last year, but don't know if that is because of changes we've made to the car, or from changes in track configuration and new asphalt. We're at least a 1.5 seconds slower than Neil's Porsche 962 at this stage," Harris added.

Harris' teammate, Matt Crandall, has won the Rose Cup GT2 class several times previously, leads the season-long points championship, and recently scored a Sports Car Club of America National class victory at Pacific Raceways in Washington.

"I'm very excited about the GT2 class in this Sunday's Rose Cup race," Crandall said. "There's a lot of Porsches to run against in the class and it's going to be a big battle: American iron vs. German engineering. We should show real well with the FGA Panoz GTS. We beat them last year so they'll be looking for us," he said. Crandall also has prior Rose Cup class victories in Formula Atlantic and C Sports Racing.

Absent from this year's festivities is team leader Nick Fluge, who will not be on hand to defend his Festival Trophy title from last year in his Corvette Z06. Instead, he is off this weekend to Las Vegas to compete in the first World Series of Poker event of the year. "Without Nick Fluge's support there is simply no way I could have defended my Rose Cup crown this year. I'll be doing my best to make him proud on race day," Harris said.

The Rose Cup is also one of eight race weekends this year in the Oregon Region Sports Car Club of America Road Racing Championship, presented by Fluge Global Adventures.

Fluge Global Adventures burst upon the sports scene in 2007 with victories in the famous Rose Cup races and a championship with the Oregon Region SCCA in a 198 mph Corvette Z06.

For 2008, Fluge has an even more ambitious schedule starting with select appearances in sports car races at Portland International Raceway. He already leads this year's Super Touring class in the SCCA road racing championship.

Ongoing reports, results and new challenges are posted regularly on the group's Web site, http://www.flugeglobaladventures.com. The green flag falls on the Rose Cup feature race this Sunday at 3:20 p.m. at Portland International Raceway.

About Todd Harris
Todd Harris is the president of Pro Drive, Inc., and has been competing in a variety of motor racing events throughout North America over the past 15 years.

The son of an amateur race car driver, Todd was immediately attracted to the sights and sounds of competitive auto racing and started his racing career in go-karts. Before moving into the world of car racing, Todd won many regional and state karting championships. The transition from karts to cars went smoothly for Todd, as he claimed many victories during his rookie season of car racing.

The Tigard, Oregon resident continued his success by becoming the Northern Pacific and Oregon Region Champion while setting track records at race tracks up and down the west coast. During a two-year period, Todd won 17 races in a row while racing in Sports Car Club of America's most competitive class, Spec Racer Ford. In 1997, Todd was bestowed the award of "National Driver of the Year" by the Sports Car Club of America's Oregon Region.

In recent years, Todd has been competing and winning races in a wide range of race cars including sports racers, formula cars, and grand touring cars. If it has four wheels and a motor, chances are Todd is going to be fast in it.

When Todd is not behind the wheel of a race car, he is coaching drivers ranging from amateur club racers to professional racecar drivers competing in the likes of NASCAR and Champ Car. He can also be found on local television and radio stations offering valuable driving advice to motorists.

Todd is a graduate of Portland State University, an avid guitar player, and classic film buff. He and his wife Jennifer have two sons, Calvin and Taylor.

About Matt Crandall
Matt Crandall, Wilsonville, Ore. has been involved in the automotive and racing business for all his adult life. He is an entrepreneur, involved in the selling of exotic sports cars and luxury automobiles, and is a recognized amateur race car driver with the Sports Car Club of America. He has excellent mechanical skills and knowledge, helps other drivers hone their skills on the race track as an instructor, and is also capable of providing track support as needed.

He is a five-time Oregon Region Champion with wins in Formula Atlantic, C-Sport Racer and, most recently, the 2006 GT-2 Class Champ in a Panoz. He has raced successfully on nearly all West Coast race tracks, including Willow Springs, Laguna Seca, Infineon, Thunderhill, Portland and Seattle. He also has experience at Road Atlanta. In Europe, through his prior association with Ferrari and Maserati sales, Matt had the opportunity to experience these automobiles at the world-famous Fiorano and Parma race tracks in Italy.

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RANDY UNSBEE, ABC

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