Portland 1996 PPG Indy Car World Series

Race No. 9

Budweiser/G.I. Joe's 200
Portland, OR
June 23, 1996

Zanardi Dominates At PIR
No Rain On Alex's Parade
By Jim DeFord

©1996 SpeedCenter Internet Publishing, Inc.

Zanardi WinsPORTLAND (June 23, 1996) - With a fist in the air, Alessandro "Alex" Zanardi celebrated his first-career PPG IndyCar victory. After being rebuffed at the U.S. 500, winning at Portland was sweet.

Even the weather would not hamper his efforts at Portland International Raceway as the drivers were greeted with a brief shower one-third the way through the race.

In addition, this was a win from the pole that garnered an extra Marlboro Pole Bonus award of $55,000 for this proud, Italian rookie.

Alex has been close before, but this weekend was a dream come true for Zanardi.

Alex was seriously challenged only by Al Unser Jr. when they exchanged the lead at the mid-race point of the race, but Unser was still on wet tires and quickly dropped back as the track dried. Zanardi ran the entire race on slicks.

Ganassi's gamble paid off. Penske's did not.

It was a wild race when the rains came. Several teams chose to stay on slicks and got bit. But, once things settled down, after the track dried out, Zanardi was clear-and-away the fastest car on the track and had built up a 20-second lead.

On the restart, after the lone caution period, Alex pulled away from the field and brought the win home.