Portland's Todd Harris Climbs Podium at Annual June Sprints

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Pro Drive Owner takes third in crowded Spec Racer Ford race and sixth in GT1.

Professional racecar driver Todd Harris finished a strong third in a field of 88 Spec Racer Fords Sunday, and also captured an impressive sixth place in the GT1 class after being knocked from third on the final lap by a spinning competitor.

Harris contested two Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) classes at the 53rd Annual Piggly Wiggly® June Sprints® last weekend at Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI. He entered in the GT1 class with a full race modified Corvette that once competed in the professional SCCA Trans-Am series, and is sponsored by Portland's Fluge Global Adventures (FGA); and the Spec Racer Ford (SRF) class with his Pro Drive Racing School sports racing car.

Harris' third place for a spot on the podium in the SRF class was the best among his fellow Pro Drive teammates. Steve Fogg of West Linn, OR took 73rd, David Oliver of Palmer, AK was 44th and Jim Murray from Bend, OR was 55th. Verndale, WA's Johnny Humphreys finished 28th.

Harris was never lower than third in the 88-car field and led the race at one time on the Road America four-mile Wisconsin circuit, where drafting is not only an art but a necessity.

"It was all about drafting," Harris explained following the race. "We qualified the Pro Drive Spec Racer Ford in second place and it was a three-car race for most of the event. I led for a while and ended up pushing race winner Mike Miserendino into the lead." Harris has finished on the podium in all nine SCCA National races and is considering competing in the year-end SRF championship at the annual run-offs.

The GT1 race on Sunday consisted of a ground pounding, high speed field of 34 Corvettes, Jaguars, Mustangs, Trans-Ams, Camaros, and Porsches in which Harris qualified an impressive third in only his second time at the legendary Road America circuit. He ran far ahead of his ensuing competitors when the race was stopped to clean up debris from an accident.

"I had passed Simon Gregg on the second lap and had third place sewn up. In fact, we were gaining on the leaders a second a lap until the race was stopped and then restarted with the field bunched together. We survived all the crazy stuff in the first few laps and the race was coming to me," Harris explained.

On the ensuing restart a competitor tried to out brake Harris at the left-hand corner six, lost control, spun, and clipped the rear of the Fluge Corvette. Harris completed a 180 degree spin and dropped to seventh place, but was still able to regain one of the lost positions in the remaining eight corners of the 14-turn circuit for sixth place.

He was encouraged by the team's results.

"The motor in the Corvette was one we used for testing and it was down on horsepower. We were losing 10 mph in the straights according to the track's radar, but made up for it in the corners to qualify within 1/2 second of pole position and race winner Phillip Simms' Trans-Am Jaguar," Harris added.

Harris is already planning for another assault on both the 2009 Rose Cup and the June Sprints and is actively seeking marketing partners for next season. Next on his busy schedule, however, is a trip to Mont Tremblant, Quebec to act as racing driver coach in the exotic F430 Ferrari Challenge, and two SRF races at Laguna Seca in October.

He is also the season long sponsor of the Pro Drive Spec Racer Ford Championship, an eight-weekend series of events at Portland International Raceway sanctioned by the Oregon Region Sports Car Club of America.

About Todd Harris:
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 received the "National Driver of the Year" award from 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.

This exceptional driving versatility was most recently evident when he entered races in a 125cc go-kart, a Mazdaspeed Miata, a Spec Racer Ford, and a 650 horsepowered GT1 Camaro all within a few weeks. He finished with three wins and a second.

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 IndyCar. 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. They love to watch their daddy race!
Todd has combined his passion for racing with his extensive teaching skills and engaging personality to become a highly respected professional in the driving industry.

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Kristen Moore

Randy Unsbee, ABC
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