It’s often said that people come to motorsports for the cars, but they stay because of the people. If you came to motorsports in Portland, Oregon any time in the last 48 years, chances are good you have encountered Gary Bockman. And if you have gotten to know Gary at all, he’s the first person you hope to see every time you come to the track.
Gary arrived on the Portland motorsports scene in the early 1970s, by his own account wandering through the front gate at Portland International Raceway (PIR) during a Cascade Sports Car Club track day. He stuck around and became one of the most successful drivers the city has produced, and also an effective evangelist for the Portland track and for racing in general.
“This race track is my home,” Gary says. That might sound like exaggeration coming from anyone else, but with Gary you know he means it. Gary treats the city park that houses PIR with special care, quietly volunteering his time and expertise for everything from putting in flower beds to refurbishing the bridge that crosses the track on the front straight.