The second to last race weekend kicked off Friday afternoon with one seventy-five-minute practice session on the 12-turn, 1.964-mile road course located at Portland International Raceway. Ilott, who made his first appearance in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES last year at Portland, finished the session 14th.
Saturday morning the NTT INDYCAR SERIES returned to the track for a busy day with two practices and qualifying. The morning began with the second practice session where Ilott improved to ninth overall. Three rounds of knock out qualifying were up next just a few short hours later. Ilott, who was placed in the second group for the first round, narrowly missed making it to the second round by one position and would qualify 14th overall. The day concluded with the final practice session, where Ilott improved to eighth quickest overall.
JHR looked to have a strong run Sunday during the 110 laps of the Grand Prix of Portland. Once the green flag waved, the No. 77 JHR Chevrolet began to make its way forward from starting on the seventh row. Ilott was able to pick up seven positions within the first 17-laps. JHR looked to go on a different pit strategy after most teams pitted before lap-20. Ilott was the race leader before going into his first pitstop on lap-25. Ilott would run just outside the Top-10, pitting two more times, until the first and only caution came out on lap-84. After four laps under caution the race returned green. Ilott was able to make his way forward throughout the remaining laps up to ninth where he finished, earning his second Top-10 finish of the season.
“I’m really happy with that one,” said Ilott. “I think we maximized everything we could on the strategy that we had and ended up P9. Great race, no mistakes. It was a good car. Big thanks to the team. All of the guys were working hard this weekend to get it a bit better after qualifying. Pretty good race and I’m happy with that one. Moving on to Laguna next week where hopefully we can carry this momentum.” “We have a lot to be proud of today from where we started to where we finished in the No.77 JHR Chevrolet,” said JHR Co-owner and Team Principal Ricardo Juncos. “This was the first track this season that Callum has run before, and the team had a good baseline to start with. We showed the speed from the beginning, but unfortunately the tire grip was going away from us and just a tenth on corner seven made the difference that put us from p4 to p7. That’s the beauty of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES as well, as we started from 14th and knew we had the pace to fight for the race, but it was hard with only one caution during the entire race. This was our best performance as a team during this whole championship. Callum did an excellent job. The engineers and all of the mechanics were absolutely perfect during the pit stops. This is the continuation of what we are trying to do and build a top NTT INDYCAR SERIES team at Juncos Hollinger Racing. We are looking forward to Laguna Seca next week and carrying this motivation as a team into the final race this season. I want to thank once again all the crew, the families of our crew, and the sponsors for their support.”