Coming in to manage PIR temporarily is someone that many of you already know. Mark Wigginton, who served as PIR manager from 2000 until E.C.’s arrival in 2014, will be returning from retirement to help in the transition between EC’s retirement on November 1st and the recruitment and hiring of a new facility manager. Mark was instrumental in bringing several new kinds of events to PIR and resurrecting some popular events from the past, most notably the PIR Auto Swap Meet. He created the weekend evening Late Night drags, which helped bring street racers into a safe environment for their racing and brought the Beaches Cruise-In to Wednesday nights during the summer, the largest weekly car show in the country. EC Mueller not only expanded on those events, he brought back the IndyCar series and other professional racing during his six-year tenure, while managing to complete major capital improvements. In addition to overall facility management, Mark will work closely with track partners and Portland Parks & Recreation leadership in the hiring and transition process to select and install the next track manager while also managing the program budget and monitoring and implementing COVID-19 guidelines as they are updated.
It was early summer 2014 and I had retired from Intel Corporation after a 17-year career. At a Cars & Coffee one weekend I overheard Mark Scholz (local racer and realtor) tell someone that Mark Wigginton, the Manager of PIR, was retiring after almost 15-years leading PIR. I told Mark that was a surprise to me, and he immediately responded, “hey you should apply for that job”. Well low and behold I ended up being retired for about two-months and then started what has been a six-year journey that I really had planned on being maybe three-years.
As things conclude, I cannot express enough thanks to so many people for this time, especially to the Friends of PIR Board and the FOPIR membership. You should be very proud of your Board and their passion to help PIR thrive. One of the best examples is from 2015. It was then that the now very missed former President of FOPIR, the late Gary Bockman, the Board, and some of PIR’s most ardent local racers helped to develop the plan for FOPIR to become promoter and operator of the Rose Cup Races. The 2016 Rose Cup Races were a roaring success with this new approach and have continued to be since. And, by combining the assets and abilities of the Cascade Sports Car Club and Oregon Region SCCA, a service level of core support was created that contributed to landing the return of the NTT IndyCar series Grand Prix of Portland to PIR and positions PIR to continue seeking larger events. There is also the fundraising aspect of FOPIR that has contributed to multiple improvements to PIR. These include Race Worker stands, new front gates, the Holmatro Safety Tools, the Air Conditioning system in the Timing & Scoring building, equipment to test ticketing systems and more. Many of you have contributed to these causes and that support has made these things happen. These efforts benefit the multiple user groups and attendees of PIR. In normal times PIR operates over 500 events per year, has over 300,000 attendees for events that include swap meets, bicycle racing, obstacle course events, 5K walks/runs plus all the motorsports activities.
Looking ahead, Mark Wigginton is returning to PIR for a short stint to bridge to a new PIR Track Manager. We are fortunate and grateful to Mark for stepping back in to assist. The FOPIR Board and membership will be needed to help steward PIR’s future with Mark and those that succeed him. Getting through COVID and ramping back up to normal operation is key. As the largest 501c3 of its type in Oregon, your voice and message to keep PIR strong is very important. Keep it loud and proud. Thank you for your continuing support and for these past six-years. Stay safe and healthy.
Warm regards, E.C. Mueller
It is with great sadness we pass on that FOPIR President Gary Bockman, lost his valiant battle with cancer on January 09, 2020. He will be greatly missed for his generosity, enthusiasm and commitment to FOPIR and to Portland International Raceway.
The FOPIR Board of Directors is committed to carrying on Gary’s work. Please check back to the FOPIR and Portland International Raceway FaceBook pages over the coming days for additional information regarding a remembrance and services.
Cards and letters can be sent to:
Portland International Raceway
1940 N Victory Blvd
Portland, OR 97217.
They will be delivered to the family.