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[Oregonian] 51st Rose Cup races: Cindi Lux says "you can't put into words'' what a Father's Day win on Sunday would mean

Saturday, June 18, 2011
Paul Buker, The Oregonian

[This article originally appeared on The Oregonian website.]

Saturday at the 51st Rose Cup Races at Portland International Raceway:

There have been some emotional winner’s circle moments on Father’s Day at PIR (I recall the names Unser and Andretti, for starters) and if a screenwriter was in charge of what happened in Sunday’s Rose Cup race my two favorite scenarios would go something like this because I’m a sucker for sappy Father’s Day stories.

1. Monte Shelton, at 77, stuns everybody in "Old Blue" and wins the event for the eighth time, but only after son Neil Shelton runs out of gas just before the start-finish line (OK, too much schmaltz?). … Shelton goes off at 100-1, but his chances improve dramatically when Nick Fluge, Matt Crandall, and Brian Richards try to go three wide in Turn 10 and find themselves on the business end of a tow truck. … on the victory platform, Monte Shelton is about to present the Monte Shelton Rose Cup Trophy to himself when his son steps in to do the honors.

 2. Aloha's Cindi Lux, one of the most accomplished woman road racers on the planet, overcomes crippling noise restrictions and a field that includes some much faster cars to win her first Rose Cup Trophy. This is Father’s Day written all over it, because Cindi’s dad Dick Haun owned the Ferrari Testa Rossa that ran roughshod over the first Rose Cup races in 1961. Cindi has a visceral attachment to the Rose Cup races that few can match.

Cindi Lux knows she has little chance to win Sunday's Rose Cup race - unless it rains

It would be a miracle if Monte Shelton – who looks marvelous for a guy whose birth certificate says he’s 77 – somehow won Sunday’s 1:50 p.m. race. That would be 45 jaw-dropping minutes, for sure.

But Cindi Lux winning?

Not so far-fetched, provided the track is wet. … if the conditions are dry, forget it. She’s giving up 300-400 horsepower to the Trans Am-style cars.

The Dodge Viper she campaigned for Mopar in 2008 in World Challenge events wins the beauty contest on the grid, but Fluge (Shelby GT-500 Mustang), defending champion Crandall (Weaver Mustang) and Richards (Weaver Camaro) have more muscle.

"The car is just not capable of winning without the rain," said Lux after Saturday morning’s rainy Rose Cup race qualifying session.

Lux said she is doing a "rain dance" to improve her chances.

Otherwise, "I’m going to have the best seat in the house."

Lux’s crew went to a full rain set-up Saturday morning.

"And the car was unbelievably good," she said.

Lux laughed at the thought of her pre-race preparation.

"Honestly, we just dusted it (the Viper) off, grabbed some tires, bought some fuel, and we’re here," she said.

"All of our equipment is on the east coast (she does work the Viper Cup series celebrity program) and everything’s borrowed. The tools are borrowed. The car, we just threw in the trailer.

"That’s what the Rose Cup is about," said Lux. "Doing things out of normal. … just coming out and seeing everybody, that’s the fun thing about it."

 Because PIR is in a city-owned park, and because of a very vocal neighborhood association, there are noise restrictions at the Rose Cup races. … those noise restrictions are crippling the Viper.

"That’s the biggest thing, we’re fighting sound," said Lux. "Yesterday we got black-flagged every session. … you can see those Frankenstein exhausts on the car right now. They’re looking pretty ugly."

Lux said the over-emphasis required to keep the Viper within PIR noise limits, "is like sticking a banana in the tailpipe."

Lux has won 12 road-racing championships, has more than 75 victories in the bank in various events and close to 50 pole positions. But yes, she admits, having her name on that Rose Cup trophy would mean a great deal because she can imagine the look on her father’s face Sunday if he got a call informing him his daughter was holding the Rose Cup and spraying champagne on the victory platform.

Now, that’s a Father’s Day story.

"You can’t put it into words," Lux said. "Honestly, it wouldn’t be for me. It would strictly be for my dad. I don’t need my name on anything, but for him, he would be a proud papa."

About Cindi

Dedicated, fast and fearless; Cindi Lux is recognized as one of North America's most talented and versatile drivers.

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